September 27, 2012
“Unfortunately, that’s not going to be finished by your deadline.” These are probably familiar words to anyone who has been involved with a new building or renovation project. Timelines get adjusted for myriad reasons: funding issues, availability of materials, structural roadblocks. While construction timelines often end up out of our control, there are a number of things that can be done to minimize negative impact. Here are a few tips I have from my personal experiences with a (nearly complete) student center renovation.
Be proactive wherever possible. It’s easy to be upset if a space isn’t fully renovated by the time you had planned. At the end of the day, however, being upset doesn’t get you into a renovated space. Instead, try thinking about how you could utilize the space you do have to temporarily perform some of the same functions. Due to a number of factors, the student-run copy center space in our current renovation was not ready by the start of classes, as we had hoped. Once we had an idea that the space wouldn’t be ready, we decided to move the operation temporarily into the lobby/waiting area of our office suite. While this wasn’t ideal, it allowed us to continue with the service until the new space was ready.
Keep people informed of changes. Though it can be frustrating if aspects of a renovation project are not ready by an original timeline, these issues can be compounded by lack of communication with stakeholders. Various people on campus might be relying on an area to be open for an event or service. If they aren’t kept up-to-date with changes, something that is a relatively easy fix could quickly turn into a scheduling nightmare.
See opportunities, rather than roadblocks. While temporary work and programming spaces can be less than ideal, they can also provide occasions for new connections. Some of our student organizations have space that is not yet fully renovated. As a result, they have been working out of some of the common areas in our Center for Student Involvement. Just having students constantly in the space has allowed my coworkers and me to make some more meaningful connections with these students. We may not have had these opportunities had they been in their renovated space on time.
What has helped you get through delayed renovations? How have you had to adapt to changing circumstances? What new opportunities have you found through these changes?
is the Associate Director of Student Life/Student Center at Southern New Hampshire University.
Gavin grew up in Wisconsin, but has been at Southern New Hampshire University since 2008. In his current role, Gavin advises the Student Government Association as well as the Senior Events Committee. In addition, he supervises multiple student employment areas and operations within the Robert A. Freese Student Center. Gavin also coordinates aspects of orientation and assists with student leadership development efforts. Gavin currently serves on both the Regional Leadership Team and Conference Program Team for Region 1. In his free time, Gavin enjoys traveling with his partner, Sara, and hanging with friends.