DISCLAIMER: The following article is an April Fools’ Day article. Though it may relate to real people or events, it is not factual.
Starting April 1, Montclair State University students no longer have to worry about being blocked from getting around campus due to frequent construction barricades, since the university is shutting down all pedestrian walkways and implementing a new form of transportation from building to building: tunnels.
In order to expedite construction on the new School of Communication and Media and Partridge Hall, as well as the less obstructive renovations happening in Stone Hall and buildings across campus, the university will shut down all sidewalks, paths and paved walkways starting at the beginning of April.
According to Red Hawk Building Inc., the company overseeing all current construction projects on campus, blocking off all pathways on which students, faculty and staff walk will make it easier for workers to transport building materials and will additionally create a safer environment for those who traverse university property. It will also allow dirt piles to be formed up to 18 times faster due to unobstructed pathways for construction vehicles, according to the company’s official construction plan for the university.
In order to compensate for these massive closures, the university will introduce a system of plastic tunnels, similar in appearance to those designed for hamster cages and other rodent receptacles, both above and below the ground, through which all members of the university community will be able to travel.
“The idea to create a tunnel system actually came from the students,” said Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, the faculty spokesperson for Red Hawk Building Inc. “We asked the student body to vote through HawkSync on ways to provide increased campus mobility in the face of construction blockages. 438 out of the 20,000 students at Montclair State voted for a tunnel system, and we made the necessary plans to introduce the system starting at the beginning of next month.”
Once the decision was made, the next big step for the university was to determine how to create a large, elaborate maze of tunnels that connected all campus facilities and how to explain to students how to get from point A to point B.
“Students have been heavily involved in the entire planning process,” Farnsworth said. “Not only was it their idea to create a tunnel system, but students then designed and constructed the tunnels themselves using the new 3-D printing lab at the business school. After they were printed, we used crazy glue from the University Bookstore to affix these structures from building to building, ensuring that each tube started and ended at the correct location.”
“This was a great opportunity for our students to learn about how much work goes into creating a complex system,” said Professor Eugene Krabbs of the business department. “We also enlisted the help of civil engineering students from other universities to work on this project, making it a collaborative learning experience for several students in the state and offering hands-on experience that these students can use on their resumes or when submitting job applications.”
A campus-wide email was sent out yesterday containing a PDF file of the tunnel system’s layout, although the link in the original email was broken and had to be fixed through another campus-wide email. Students are encouraged to print these maps out and keep them with them at all times in order to navigate the novel pathways from building to building, although they are also advised to check their emails regularly in case of any last-minute pathway changes or cancellations.
“I’m not sure that these tunnels are such a great idea,” said freshman theatre studies major D. J. Tanner. “I mean, it’s great that the university asked students before they made a decision, but it’s probably going to be really chaotic on Friday when this new tunnel system comes into play.”
“I’m nervous about what will happen if the campus Wi-Fi goes out,” said junior biology major Victor Frankenstein. “You never know when it will work or when it will completely crap out on you. I don’t want to be on my way to Car Parc and take a wrong turn and end up at the mail center. If the university can really prove that they have the situation under control, then I think it won’t be so bad in the end.”
Farnsworth encourages students to take a look at the schedule in advance, although he knows that many students may not regularly check their emails to stay up-to-date with campus changes. He recommends leaving an extra 15 minutes before class to get through the tunnels for the first few weeks until everyone gets used to the new flow of traffic.
“Ultimately, this is just a temporary fix until the university is done with its construction projects,” said Farnsworth. “However, the university has not given an official end-date for all its construction projects to terminate, so until the time comes that these tunnels are not needed, they will be the only source of transportation on campus.”