Returning students may have noticed that the sidewalk area on Fairfield Way near the Student Union is no longer brick, but concrete, due to infrastructure work that was done over the summer.
Over the summer, the steam pipes in the area that were “beyond their useful life” were replaced, Vice President of Facilities Operations and Building Services Mike Jednak said. The brickwork was removed for the portion of work between the School of Business and the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts.
“The bricks were removed to accommodate the digging for the piping system,” Jednak said.
The old bricks were replaced with concrete because if they were replaced with new bricks, they would have been torn back up next year, which would have been costly, Jednak said.
Some students, like third-semester environmental engineering major Dea Acorda, do not like the aesthetic change.
“The brick was prettier,” she said. “It [the brick] definitely catches your eye more than this [concrete]. This is just really bland.”
Aesthetic was not the only reason why third-semester Eurotech student Leah Miller dislikes the change.
“It’s like we’re not supposed to have cars or trucks or vehicles on here but it [concrete] makes it kind of look like an extension of the road,” Miller said.
Both Acorda and Miller said that the brick also tied in better with the Oak leaf seal that is in front of the Homer Babbidge Library.
However, third-semester English and psychology major Maraya Clark was indifferent to the change.
“I actually kind of like the blacktop,” she said. “I actually didn’t notice the blacktop the first time I walked over it, but I think I kind of like it.”
Clark went on to say that it makes sense that the brick was replaced with the blacktop for practical reasons.
The pipe replacement near the Union is part of a larger multi-year project to improve and upgrade the university’s underground infrastructure, according to a UConn Today article.