What to expect for on-campus living in 2016

Kirsten Wessel, Staff Writer



What changes in on-campus living can we expect in the coming year? Plans currently include much-needed basic repairs in popular residential buildings, landscaping projects, new kitchens for student use, and the much-anticipated re-opening of Roberts Hall.

Construction is currently taking place in Swartz Hall to introduce an additional kitchen area to better suit the needs of the roughly 350 students that it houses year-round.

“The need, want, and desire for kitchens is growing. This is a thing across colleges throughout the country. But this is also a huge community thing. You can do a lot of programming around cooking, planning a meal and things like that. That’s another level and reason why we’re including more kitchens,” Director of Housing Services Stephen Apanel said.

In addition, Swartz’s Loomis hall will be getting brand-new bathrooms and HVAC units, as will halls A and B in Smith Hall. Other small projects include new doors in Harris, exterior painting for Carey House, and new piping for Hulley House.

“When you do a renovation, you don’t know how often you get to do it so you really want to get in there and do as much as you can,” Apanel said.

Additionally, some work is underway on the grease blockage that occurred near the Elaine Langone Center and Moore Avenue last semester. The real work will begin after Commencement, next fall. 

“We expect we will finish these repairs before the start of Reunion,” Executive Director for Facilities Mike Patterson said. “While we want to get the repairs done as soon as possible we want to minimize any inconvenience related to it.”

In the repairs, the University will take extra precautionary procedures to prevent a recurrence of the blockage. Problems with the underground stormwater system were discovered while investigating the blockage, adding to the visible steam plumes in the area.

“Repairs to both the steam and storm water systems will eliminate that problem,” Patterson said.

Arguably the most pressing issue in the minds of University students concerns the restoration and complete renovation of Roberts Hall. When it officially opens this fall, Roberts will offer air-conditioned, suite-style living spaces to second-year students with units for two to four people, each with a bathroom and separate bedrooms connected by one entryway. Additions to the building include two kitchens per floor, an elevator, recreational space on the ground floor, and a small porch by the front entryway. Current plans for Roberts, Trax, and Kress (RTK) see the area becoming a “Summer Quad,” offering an air-conditioned, newly-renovated, shared area for students to live in during the summer session.

“The best part about living in Roberts for two years was the location, because it was in the vicinity of every place I needed to be on campus,” Greg Chassapis ’16 said. “Hopefully the renovation will turn out better than expected and the students living in there will be able to enjoy a first class living experience.”

“You’ll probably go by the building and see holes in it and windows out. That’s part of the process,” Apanel said. “It’s like the phrase ‘you’ve got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette.’ But in order to make something good, you have to have a little destruction.”

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