by Maileen Hamto
Construction of the new Moores School of Music will have reached its "halfway point" by September, just in time for the traffic rush expected for the fall semester, Facilities, Planning and Construction associate dean Jim Berry said.
Construction of the $21 million facility began in November, and some students and visitors who park on student lots adjacent to the construction site said that the construction has caused some inconvenience.
"The trucks can be a burden," said Wayne Pruitt, a visitor to the campus. "If people come in here not aware of the construction, it can be a problem."
Despite such concerns, UH Parking and Transportation officials said that the department has not received any complaints regarding parking difficulties as a result of the construction.
"We haven't heard from students about parking problems in that area," says Richie Brown, director of Parking and Transportation. "If we did, we'd do something about it."
UH Facilities, Planning and Construction Department officials said that they have not received any complaints from students or visitors either.
"We provided alternate parking for those lost before the construction began, a year ahead of time," said Jim Berry, associate vice chancellor of the Facilities, Planning and Construction Department.
Berry said that a new parking area has been built to accommodate students during construction, and that additional parking areas have also been established within already existing parking lots. He said that only one parking area has been affected by the construction.
While no car accidents on Cullen Boulevard can be directly connected to the construction of the new building, University of Houston Police Department Lt. Malcolm Davis said his department has taken a proactive role in preventing traffic delays in areas near the construction site.
When the UH Wortham Center played host to the Children's Theater Festival this summer, a police officer from the department was assigned to direct the traffic of school buses entering and exiting UH parking lots. While there, the officer also directed traffic for trucks carrying materials to the School of Music construction site.
"We send out the officer to the area an hour before or an hour after each performance," Davis said, "but we're not out there 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday."
With the expected increase of traffic and parking problems in the fall semester, Davis said that the department plans to look for any delays that may be caused by the construction.
"So far, we have not been told by construction officials that they will be doing anything that will (significantly) affect traffic in August," Davis said, "but we will keep monitoring the situation."
He added that Facilities, Planning and Construction keeps UHPD updated of any activity that might impact traffic in the area.
"They cannot just arbitrarily shut down a part of the street. They would need permission from the city," Davis said. "They will contact us if they plan to do so."
Construction is slated to be completed by June of 1997.
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