560 Lincoln and Kemper residents struggle to sleep amidst construction on Campus Drive


Evan Robinson-Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer

The construction site on Campus Drive. The site, which sits over a water reservoir, used to be a parking lot.

Gabby Birenbaum, Campus Editor

During finals week, Weinberg freshman and 560 Lincoln resident Pamela Chen had to start going to bed early. Her adjusted schedule was not a product of exams, but rather an attempt to get adequate sleep before she was awoken early by the sounds of construction on Campus Drive.

“I had to seriously shift my schedule so that I went to sleep at a time where it would be okay for me to wake up at 7:30 a.m., because it was so loud to the point where my bed was vibrating,” Chen said.

Residents of 560 Lincoln and Kemper Hall were first notified about the construction — a project run by the City of Evanston to replace an 84-year old water reservoir underneath the parking lot behind Kemper Hall — via an email from Northwestern facilities in late January. The project is expected to run through February 2020, according to the email, at which point Northwestern will construct a green space rather than a parking lot over the reconstructed reservoir.

Construction begins every morning at 8 a.m. and ceases at 5 p.m. Though the University asked city officials to accommodate students during finals week by starting construction at 10 a.m., the city said it was unable to honor the request, according to an email sent to 560 Lincoln and Kemper residents by Residential Life in March.

Though Chen says she has learned to “tune out” the noise of the construction this quarter, it still affects her sleep schedule.

“It’s been hard to even come back to my room and take naps,” Chen said. “I have to stay out (of the room) until 5 p.m. when the construction ends, just because sometimes the noise gives me a headache.”

560 Lincoln resident and McCormick freshman Liam Susswein said he first noticed the construction on Sunday night.

Susswein said he remembered getting email announcements about the construction, but he had forgotten about it until he was lying in bed last night unable to fall asleep.

“It sounded like (there) was a jackhammer,” Susswein said. “I could not fall asleep. I went to bed really late and I woke up really f–king early because of the jackhammers.”

Anticipating the continuing construction, Susswein said he will just have to get used to the noise.

For SESP freshman Griffin Katz, the noise has exceeded his expectations based on the communications that 560 Lincoln residents received. With a suite facing the lake, he is one of the most affected 560 Lincoln residents.

“I can’t sleep past 8 a.m.,” Katz said. “It’s too loud. Last night I tried to beat it — I put in earplugs and then I put in headphones on top of that with music playing, (but) I woke up because my bed was shaking.”

Katz said if the construction were to start at 10 a.m., it would make a “huge difference” by allowing residents to sleep in a little longer.

Chen said she appreciates the effort the University took by asking the construction to be pushed to later in the day, but with no results, she said it seems like the project should have been pushed off to a later date.

“I can’t really blame Northwestern,” Chen said. “(The city) should’ve just waited until the summer to do this.”

Email: gabriellebirenbau[email protected]
Twitter: @birenbomb

Related Stories:
Construction to begin for water reservoir project on Northwestern campus