The construction on Doane hill: Is it worth it?

Eastern finds itself at an interesting time in its young history. It officially became a four-year college in 1952 and a university in 2001. Students began to be housed off-campus in places such as Pennswood Hall at Harcum College and Devon Apartments because of the school’s increasing number of accepted applicants.

Wanting all students to be able to live on campus, Eastern decided to build a new residence hall on the northern side of campus near the main entrance. In addition, a new academic building and more parking lots are being built.

Eastern has been known as an environmentally friendly campus, and its aesthetic beauty has always been a major attraction to potential students. Woods, ponds, streams and even wildlife can be seen from any point on the campus. While the new changes on campus seem nice and most people are in favor of them, these changes have come at a cost.

The new residence hall, academic building and parking lot are necessary in order to accommodate Eastern’s growing population. However, in order to build these necessities, Eastern loses part of the hill behind admissions and almost all of the woods near the main entrance of campus.

For many students this is sad, and they feel as I do, that Eastern should put a halt to any more construction – after the current construction is completed – that requires the loss of our natural surroundings.

I remember two years ago as a first-year, walking the trails of the woods on the opposite side of NCH, doing research for a biology class. Now all I see is the construction of a new residence hall.

Doane is on the opposite side of the campus from where the construction for the new buildings is beginning to take place, yet it too is affected by the construction. Radnor Township has certain policies that Eastern must oblige in order to build the new residence hall and academic building.

The large hill in front of Doane has been doomed to become a parking lot. In addition, Thomas Drive will become a two-way street as it was before, and a cul-de-sac will be built as well.

The hill in front of Doane can be seen populated by sunbathers and students doing homework with blankets spread, enjoying the sunshine during the spring. During cold winters, students can be seen playing in the snow, making snowmen and snow angels and even sliding on the snow and ice when it compacts and becomes smooth.

These are some of the subtle enjoyments we have probably taken for granted but which have been part of the traditional Eastern residence life experience. Now some of these subtle enjoyments, along with part of the woods on the other side of campus, will be gone.

Students are doing the right thing and aren’t taking the situation lightly. A Facebook group has been created to oppose having a parking lot built on Doane Hill. Over 230 students have joined the group, displaying their disgust over the renovations of Doane hill. Part of their concern is over the amount of pollution and run-off that will enter the lake because of the new parking lot.

Eastern is undoubtedly a great school, but the questions arise as to whether all the changes around campus are really worth it. Should Eastern consider staying a smaller institution and putting a limit on the amount of students attending? Or should Eastern accept more applicants and meet the demands of that growing population?

The biggest question remains: Are we gaining more or losing more by all the new additions to an already beautiful campus?

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