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Headphones, White Noise Machines Dull Construction Clamor in Apley Court

The exterior of Apley Court, a freshman dormitory.
The exterior of Apley Court, a freshman dormitory. By Kathryn S. Kuhar
By Olivia C. Scott, Contributing Writer

The 30 freshmen living in Apley Court do not have to worry about the honking and clanging emanating from the Smith Campus Center construction site anymore.

Dean of Ivy Yard Michael C. Ranen, along with the Harvard University Construction Mitigation Team and Apley Court’s proctors, purchased noise cancelling headphones and white noise machines for residents after concerns that sounds from the construction site were disrupting daily life.

“Construction starts at 7 a.m., so that means that setting up starts before then, so really the goal of getting the noise cancelling headphones and the white noise machines is to make sure it limits the students from being woken up,” Ranen said.

Construction on the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center in the Square began in 2016 and will continue through fall 2018. The renovations have posed challenges for students who say noise from the construction site has disrupted their daily life, and local businesses who say it eliminates parking space in the area.

Alexander S. Koenig ’21 said the noise has become less bothersome as the semester has progressed.

“It was worse before they finished putting in the glass panels, which happened during part of September,” Koenig said. “Before that, it was much noisier. It would start at 7 a.m. every day, which was a little annoying.”

Some students who have continued to be bothered by the construction have devised their own methods of cancelling out the noise.

“It was kind of hard to sleep at first because of it, but I’ve started just playing music in my room to fall asleep because that is louder usually,” Wilfried J. Zibell ’21 said.

Koenig also said Ranen has been extremely accommodating, offering his suite an air conditioning unit at the start of the semester so they could keep their windows shut when it was hot outside.

“So, our resident dean was kind enough to get us an air conditioner because we were on the first floor, so most of the time when it was noisy, we just had all the windows closed,” Koenig said.

For Ranen, the purchases have gone well amongst students in the building.

“I mean it’s the small things that we can do, you know, again, it’s not ideal, but I think that when it opens next year, it’s going to be really cool,” Ranen said.

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