Students find South Campus apartments have issues

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Students find South Campus apartments have issues

Caroline Fassett, Assistant News Editor

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While much excitement and satisfaction has been astir since the completion of the South Campus Apartments, their implementation has also raised concerns from some dissatisfied residents. Students report that there have been technical and structural issues associated with the apartments.

“There are several minor annoyances, considering [that] they are brand new and the most expensive place to live on campus,” Christian Cavarretta ’17 said.

One issue Cavarretta discussed is that the air conditioning is uncontrollable past a certain temperature, a problem that bothers him because the apartments cost over $8,500 a year.

Mona Mohammed ’16 says that she cannot turn the air conditioning off in her apartment.  

I hate air conditioning, and especially when the weather is nice outside, I wish I could just open my window and not have to worry about destroying the environment. [It’s] always on, which is actually pretty bad for the environment in general,” Mohammed said.

Cavarretta described a few other issues as well.

“The floor being uneven … causing chairs and desks to wobble. The doors [require] an excessive amount of energy to shut. [T]he walls do not work with command strips, parking is far away, some of the handicap door openers do not work, and the fire alarms are overly sensitive and aggressively loud,” Cavarretta said.

Director of Housing Services Stephen Apanel said that the Construction + Design (C+D) Group, responsible for all large-scale projects on campus, is both “aware of issues related to bringing the new apartment complex on line this fall and has been working daily to ensure the University gets the facilities that it paid for and deserves.” 

“All buildings experience issues and problems as they come on line. Through design we work to minimize the issues … but invariably there are some amount that are not discovered until we have better information from the occupants,” Apanel said.

Other problems brought to Apanel’s attention included trouble with closing the apartment windows, apparent stickiness of interior wood doors on hot and humid days, improper drainage of shower water, technical difficulties with the elevators and smoke detectors, and leaking incidents.

Erim Yildirir ’17 said that he once woke up and saw a puddle on his floor and drip marks on the ceiling.

“One could say that this is unacceptable. I don’t know. It happened once. It didn’t really affect me; therefore I don’t have a huge problem with it. If it happens often, would I have a huge problem with it? Yes I would,” Yildirir said.

Apanel said that facilities, the C+D Group, and the general contractor have been diligent in attending to all issues, working to answer every question and solve every problem brought to them.

Though Apanel stated his belief that the apartments were built well and successfully conformed to the students’ requests, he too feels that a better dialogue should be established on campus in which students understand “how a building is designed, the decisions made, and how it is expected to perform.”

“Our modern campus buildings are much more complex than they once were. One aspect of this is clearly attributed to our campus goals of designing to a higher sustainability standard. That means very sophisticated systems with a lot of technology,” Apanel said.

Despite the complications they’ve encountered, both Cavarretta and Yildirir agree that the South Campus Apartments are the nicest places to live on campus, although Cavarretta says that they are “overhyped.”

“They are extremely spacious and well laid out … [i]f Housing offered to switch me from an apartment to a Gateway today I would say no. However, if I were forced out of my apartment and into a Gateway, I would not be upset about it,” Cavarretta said.

“It’s much bigger than the Gateways. I have a big kitchen. I cook. My room is comfortable,” Yildirir said.

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