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Students bring forward concerns over residence halls

Three students who live or have lived in Bonaventure and Gerard Halls gave us their comments and concerns regarding the quality of living within these two twin buildings.

Anthony Massetto, junior music performance major, believes that the heating system in his dorm building, Bonaventure Hall, is inconsistent.

“There have been several occasions where the temperature outside has been below freezing and we did not have heat in our room,” Massetto said. “I wish that they would be proactive with the heat and be willing to turn it on and off depending on the weather. The coldness in the rooms has caused problems in the past.”

Tressa Holodnik, senior bioinformatics major, said that heating was an issue not singular to Bonaventure. Holodnik resided in Gerard Hall both her sophomore and junior years and currently resides in Rooney Hall.

When Holodnik lived in Gerard, she said that she kept the radiator closed and ran the air conditioning fan during the winter.

Even though Holodnik sees the heating as an issue, she said that she understands how large of an undertaking it would be to fix the problem.

In addition to temperature complaints, students, such as Holodnik, criticize the lack of elevators in Gerard and Bonaventure Halls.

Holodnik finds that the lack of elevators is frustrating for people on move-in day, people who have handicaps, and for those who live on the upper floors.

“I’ve also heard that we pay a fine every year because of those buildings not being up to code with an elevator system. I’m not sure which is more beneficial: keeping those buildings and paying the fines, or tearing them down and building to code,” Holodnik said.

Maria Fetty, sophomore history major with a secondary education minor, also believes continued that the lack of elevators in the residence halls are in violation of codes and are impractical, especially for moving in and moving out.

“I hope that Gerry and Bonny, before anything else, get elevators. Not because I’m being lazy and don’t want to walk upstairs, but because someone could be injured and need to use an elevator and can’t get up the stairs,” Fetty said.

The Review reached out to Residence Life with questions about Bonaventure and Gerard. When asked why there are no elevators in these buildings, Bob Baum, dean of students, replied that the reason is because they were not originally built to have elevators.

Fetty explained that a friend who lived in Bonaventure had an injury that made using stairs complicated.

“Gerry and Bonny aren’t equipped for that,” Fetty said. “It took him a very long time just to enter and leave his dorm.”

Holodnik sprained her ankle the fall of 2015 while living in Gerard.

“It was definitely a challenge, both living on the third floor and having to be on either crutches or a scooter. I had to hop up and down the stairwells, which was tedious,” she said.

However, Holodnik said that the school gave her the option of temporarily moving into Wimmer during her injury.

“I saw this as unnecessary for two reasons: I’d have needed to move my things back and forth between the buildings, and that semester, most of my courses were in Dupré, which would’ve caused me to have a longer walk to my classes had I moved temporarily,” Holodnik said.

Additionally, Holodnik expressed a desire for more kitchen options. While she is aware of the kitchen located in Benny, which is only available to residents of that hall, she said that the only other kitchen available for students on campus was in Alcuin.

“The stove there is cracked and the room itself isn’t kept clean. Whether that’s the fault of the students who use it or if there isn’t a specific staff in charge of cleaning Upper Alcuin, I’m not entirely sure,” Holodnik said.

The addition of kitchens appears to be an afterthought, mentioned Holodnik, and she thinks it would be a great improvement to the dorm buildings if a kitchen was available.

However, Massetto has a different opinion concerning the subject.

“The lack of kitchens is not extremely inconveniencing due to the fact that we are not extremely far away from the Shack, so meals are not difficult to get,” he said.

Holodnik described other areas that could use improvement on campus such as the number and distribution of washers and dryers, and the danger of roof leakage.

“I will give credit where credit is due,” Holodnik said. “The lobbies of Bonny, Gerry and Wimmer weren’t very comforting in years past. As the renovations in those three buildings’ lobbies and hallways have occurred, in regards to lighting, carpeting, paint and lobby furniture, it seems like students have felt more at home. I still think Wimmer hallways and bathrooms could get a face-lift, but overall, these three buildings have had massive improvements in the last three years.”

The question of whether more living choices are needed, however, was met with mixed reception.

Fetty explained that the number of students looking for housing is a challenge.

“I think more living choices would be beneficial because there are so many students now that go here, that finding housing for everyone is proving to be difficult,” Fetty said.

Massetto agrees with the idea, hoping for better housing for juniors aside from Bonaventure, Gerard and Rooney.

However, Holodnik finds the amount of residence halls adequate.

“I think the amount of building choices on campus is sufficient; sophomores get three choices and the two groups of upperclassmen have five choices,” Holodnik said.

Additionally, some students have heard that Gerard and Bonaventure were meant to originally function as temporary dorms.

Fetty said that she heard that Gerard and Bonaventure were meant to originally function as temporary living and associated this assumption with the lack of elevators.

“Those buildings have been up since the 1960s, so they are definitely in need of an upgrade,” Fetty said.

Although Massetto said Bonny and Gerry did not seem to be designed for long term living, he also expressed that he had few difficulties living in them for the past two years.

However, Baum explained that the idea of these buildings being temporary is incorrect.

“Currently, none of our residence halls are temporary,” Baum said.

Baum said that renovation needs in all halls are reviewed and scheduled as possible each year through the capital budgeting process. The most recent renovation for Bonaventure and Gerard Halls occurred in 2014 with particular attention paid to the stairways, hallways, and restrooms.

Currently, said Baum, there are no plans to build a new residence hall.

Photos: Bridget Fetal, TribLive

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