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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Construction of new power plant begins at Recreation Field

Highland Quadrangle residents were notified on Jan. 27 of construction set to begin in early February at the Recreation Field along 25th Avenue South as part of the Central Utilities Initiative.
Construction+at+the+David+Williams+II+Recreation+and+Wellness+Center%2C+as+photographed+on+Feb.+1%2C+2023.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FClaire+Gatlin%29
Claire Gatlin
Construction at the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center, as photographed on Feb. 1, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Claire Gatlin)

Highland Quadrangle residents were notified in a Jan. 27 email of construction along 25th Avenue South and at the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center to begin in early February as part of the Central Utilities Initiative. According to the email, working hours for the power plant construction will be between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST, and residents were warned of loud noises including blasting and rock breaking.

The goal of the Central Utilities Initiative is to “prepare campus for future growth,” according to Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain. The upcoming projects, including the new power plant, are being constructed in anticipation of future Vandy United projects and the residential colleges to be built in place of Highland Quadrangle.

“The construction in the area includes sidewalk and road closures, and some blasting and rock breaking. Similar to other construction projects on campus, the VU community including residents and athletes will be notified of any changes in the area ahead of time,” Kopstain said in a message to The Hustler. “All sidewalk and road closures will be clearly marked with signs along with an announcement.”

The construction at the Rec is specifically aimed to prepare for the installation of underground utilities and the construction of the Highland Chilled Water Plant and substation. According to a Jan. 27 press release from the university, the power plant will use chilled water lines to regulate hot and cold water for cooling in facilities. Kopstain said the project is set to be completed in 2025 and aligns with FutureVU’s sustainability goals.

“A key part of the Central Utilities Initiative is conversion of the underground utilities to hot and cold water from steam, saving a considerable amount of energy,” Kopstain said.

Drilling at the recreation field near 25th Avenue South, as photographed on Feb. 1, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Claire Gatlin)
Drilling at the recreation field near 25th Avenue South, as photographed on Feb. 1, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Claire Gatlin) (Claire Gatlin)

President of Women’s Club Soccer Grayson Liptack, a senior, said the Rec has helped the club schedule its practices on new fields to make room for the construction, but it has been difficult to find field availability.

“We have had to share practice fields with the men’s lacrosse team and switch our practice to turf instead of grass. Unlike most other club sports, our main season is in the fall,” Liptack said in a message to The Hustler. “We were easily able to reserve fields for games in the fall, but I imagine it will be more difficult this spring.”

Lewis House resident Maya Maciel-Seidman, a sophomore, said she was concerned about health issues that may be exacerbated by this construction.

“Construction kicks up so much dust, and that’s right where I live. I already have bad allergies just from being in Nashville because there’s so much construction in the city,” Maciel-Seidman said. “I’m concerned because it’s going to be right across the street, and that’s going to make it a lot worse for me.”

Maciel-Seidman also said she has already begun to experience high noise levels in Lewis.

“I understand a construction project like this takes a really long time, but I think if they’re doing rock blasting that it could be done over the summer when we’re not living in Highland and dealing with construction,” Maciel-Seidman said. “Why now?”

Lewis resident Gabriel Orozco, also a sophomore, said he has not yet been disrupted by the noise.

“I can imagine residents that live even closer than me to the construction may have something different to say,” Orozco said in a message to The Hustler. “The moment I step outside Lewis, the noise is definitely apparent, but at least indoors not so much.”

Kopstain said the university wants to make the construction process “stress-free” and cited an interactive map that shows where construction projects are currently located.

“The comfort and experiences on campus of students, staff and faculty is a key component in planning all construction projects and the overall goal is to make the process as stress-free as possible,” Kopstain said. “Vanderbilt is working to provide the best facilities for its students, faculty, staff and community and continues to look at how buildings or neighborhoods better serve the VU community.”

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About the Contributors
Alison Winters
Alison Winters, Deputy News Editor
Alison Winters (‘25) is from Franklin, Tenn., and is majoring in political science and law, history and society with a minor in psychology in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her at the movie theater, reading a good book or attending a concert in Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
Claire Gatlin
Claire Gatlin, Former Life Editor
Claire Gatlin ('24) is a student in Peabody College studying human and organizational development and political science. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, reading and rollerblading. You can reach her at [email protected].
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The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
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power plant fan
4 months ago

This is such a good Hustler story, thank you for keeping us updated!