Campus construction

Carlos Banalas directs traffic at the intersection of Panama Street and Campus Drive West while backhoes dig behind him, part of this summer's construction on the Stanford campus. (L.A. Cicero / Stanford News Service)

Safety is Stanford's top concern as construction ramps up

As new construction projects bloom all over campus, Stanford's primary concern is the safety of people who are walking, bicycling, skateboarding or driving on the Farm. Campus officials have offered a list of tips for getting around safely.

This summer, construction activity is expected to increase all over campus as Stanford begins transforming the Old Chemistry Building into the Science Teaching and Learning Center, renovating Roble Gymnasium and erecting the Panama Mall Office Building.

Later this year, Stanford's Board of Trustees is expected to consider construction approval for several more projects: the Stanford Graduate School of Business Residences; two new dorms at Lagunita Court; a new residence hall at Manzanita Park; a stadium house at Stanford Stadium; and an underground parking garage at Roble Field.

All of which means the campus population of construction workers and construction equipment – excavators, backhoes, front loaders and dump trucks – will increase over the next six months.

Jack Cleary, associate vice president of Land, Buildings & Real Estate, said safety is the university's most important concern as construction ramps up.

"In the past, we've had the luxury of working on major construction projects on contained sites with clear borders, so safety issues were easier to manage," he said. "Now we're going to have several moderate-sized projects in areas that are contiguous or in the same general area, so the safety issues are more complicated."

Cleary said Stanford is developing a campus-wide safety awareness program that will be unveiled in September before freshmen arrive on campus for New Student Orientation.

In the meantime, he offered five safety tips for people as they walk, bike, skateboard or drive on campus:

  • Don't use your cellphone near construction sites.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings as you walk, run, bike or drive on campus.
  • Expect detours and follow the directions of the flaggers.
  • If you're riding a bike, follow the rules of the road – stop at stop signs.
  • Allow a little more time than usual to travel on campus, whether you're on foot, on a bicycle or skateboard, or in a vehicle.

"I think staying off your cellphone near construction sites is the most important safety tip," Cleary said. "If you're talking, checking emails, watching videos or browsing websites on your cell phone, you won't be able to pay attention to what's going on around you."

Currently, crews are working on several campus construction projects, including the Windhover Contemplation Center and a roundabout on Escondido Road. In addition, crews are installing underground pipes for the Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) project.

Work also continues on the McMurtry Building for the Department of Art and Art History in the university's arts district. Its neighbor, the Anderson Collection at Stanford University, will open in September.