Many people on campus and in the College community are abuzz with the premise of Campus Town, the long-awaited destination of restaurants, housing and shops to be built on campus near the Pennington Road entrance. But while some students are primarily worried about how long it will take for them to get a new campus coffee shop, there has been little talk of the unfortunate environmental implications of building Campus Town.
Across from the main entrance of the College where Campus Town is being built lies Lake Ceva. Due to a New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection mandate, Lake Ceva was almost completely drained, with wildlife temporarily removed and its dam repaired in 2006. Now, because of its location, the lake is being affected by the current construction on campus.
In 2006, when the dam was repaired, it was a process that lasted over six months. Now, with Campus Town slated to be finished in Spring 2015, it seems as if Lake Sylva’s sister will be “under construction” until then as well.
According to Communications Officer Emily Dodd, the current construction of Campus Town is affecting Lake Ceva in an effort to create a better path for runoff once Campus Town is built.
“The area on the north side of the main entrance will be an ornamental detention pond with a fountain,” Dodd said. “The detention pond is necessary to hold runoff from rain and snow storms that cannot be absorbed on the Campus Town site. Instead, this runoff will be directed into the detention pond where it will slowly be introduced into Lake Ceva.”
Many students, while excited by the idea of Campus Town, don’t necessarily like the aesthetic and environmental effects that this construction has on the campus.
“Our campus is supposed to be known for how beautiful it is, yet the first thing you see when you come to our school is the fences and construction around the entrance and the lake,” senior management major Molly Crawford said. “We should have thought about all of this before we started building Campus Town.”
Sophomore biology major Ken Abes was interested to know how this construction and run off would affect Lake Ceva in the long run.
“I feel like creating any type of disturbance to the lake would greatly affect it in many ways,” he said. “The ecology of the lake is so specific that any changes could greatly affect the interactions between communities living in the lake.”
However, some students are less concerned about environmental impacts and more the financial implications of the construction.
“It’s not like they’re fundamentally changing the lake,” junior special education and history double major Zach Ott said. “I just wish I knew if this money to fix the lake and the construction were coming from my tuition money or from a grant of some sort. I would like the (College) community to tell me where my money is going and where the money to do these kinds of projects is coming from.”
With Campus Town scheduled to be officially finished by June 2015, it is hoped that all construction that will affect Lake Ceva will also be completed by then. Until then, students will be patiently awaiting a finalized Campus Town, and hopefully a fully functional, completed Lake Ceva.