Foster Hall has not had students roaming since spring 2016.

No doubt the ceaseless construction around campus has piqued your interest.

With the building of Kopchick Hall disrupting the flow of foot traffic to and from the Oak Grove, it begs the question of why there are still several empty buildings on campus.

In “normal” years, the open green space around North Dining Hall would be abuzz with student activity. Pickup games of ultimate frisbee, Indiana residents taking strolls and friends lounging on the grass were commonplace on nice days.

But because of Kopchick Hall’s placement, the open space will be all but demolished.

Why on earth would a natural science building destroy some of campus’ only empty space instead of taking advantage of the multiple empty buildings littering IUP?

Take Foster Hall, for instance. It closed its doors for the spring 2016 semester, and it’s been empty ever since. Despite it being abandoned, electricity is still run through the building, and lights can be seen on at night. God only knows how much energy and money has been wasted just on that. Frankly, it’s an eyesore smack-dab in the middle of campus.

Why couldn’t Kopchick Hall have gone there?

Don’t even get me started on Folger Hall. That newly renovated dining hall was open for four whole years before it was shut down in fall 2019. Now, it serves as a “student center,” because it’s not like there’s an entire library and several other hangout spots around campus.

Sure, incoming students like up-to-date facilities. But why do colleges interpret that as an excuse to construct brand-new buildings instead of fixing up the existing structures? Surely that would cost less and be much less wasteful and impactful on the environment.

The ground floor of Sutton Hall is nearly impossible to navigate because of the winding hallways, low ceilings and lack of signs, but God forbid we go one year without spending millions of dollars on yet another dining hall that will be shut down in the blink of an eye.

Campus aesthetics is not an insignificant factor in prospective students’ willingness to apply. If someone thinks that a place is “ugly,” then why would they shell out tens of thousands of dollars a year to live there?

It makes zero sense to forsake dingy, dilapidated, deserted buildings just to kill what little open green space is left on campus.

Green space is important for everyone’s mental health, per this article by NASA:

So why, pray tell, are we destroying it with a new building? IUP’s campus is one of the only open green spaces in Indiana Borough. Sure, there are places to get your fill of nature right outside of town, but having physical green space within walking distance is important.

Since we’re all stuck inside anyway, just being able to look outside your window and seeing grass and trees can do wonders. But from now until Kopchick Hall’s planned opening for fall 2023, students will see only construction where there should be swaths of unperturbed green.

How long until the Oak Grove is no more? Yes, that is a bad-faith slippery slope argument, but you get my point.

Perhaps existing structures should be fully dealt with before breaking ground on a new one. It seems like the no-brainer choice, really. Haven’t your parents ever told you to go through your old toys and get rid of some before you can get new ones?

To be fair, most students here are not civil engineers. Maybe there is a logical explanation for Foster remaining abandoned with full electricity while a gigantic, frankly not needed science building tears up campus for the foreseeable future.

But what would I know, eh? I just live here.

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