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Friday, July 3, 2020

BT residents must move again as second wave of construction begins

Buchanan Towers has been under construction since spring quarter of last year. // Photo by Jaden Moon

By Samuel Fletcher

University residence administrators met with residents of Buchanan Towers on Monday, Oct. 29, to discuss the logistics of the second phase of the Buchanan Towers Residence renovation, a two-year, $24.5 million project which will require half of the residents to move.

According to a press release from Associate Director of Facilities Karen Walker, the project started in spring quarter 2018. Then, the north wing was renovated to address some of the issues that have come with the building’s age, including plumbing, ventilation, fire detection and various new interior aspects. The second phase will begin spring quarter 2019.

This means relocating an entire wing of students to other campus housing — for a second time.

During the informational meeting in 2018, residents were assured that no one would be moving out at a time that would disrupt their academics, second-year student and former north wing resident Irene Colodner said. For her, this simply wasn’t true.

“I didn’t get a housing assignment until around two weeks before spring break,” Colodner said in an email response. “I was forced to move out during dead week, which was very infuriating.”

Students who move have priority preference in the remodeled wing for housing the following year, University Residences Program Specialist Kaimi Deardorff said at the meeting on Monday. This is something the students of the previous year were told as well.

“When it came time for me to apply to housing and I asked about the ‘priority’ position I had, housing informed me that that’s only for if you get drawn in the lottery, which I had not,” Colodner said. Colodner was not made aware of the fact she might have to move when she chose BT, she said.

According to Deardorff, there will be more space for housing options this year than last. In the beginning of November, university residence administrators will send out a survey for current residents to fill out their room and roommate preferences.

First-year student Mason Dunbar is among the south wing residents who will be relocated next year. He said he appreciates the transparency of the housing staff and the amount of time given to prepare.

The most frustrating part for Dunbar is moving to a place without cooking appliances, he said. Not all residence halls have kitchenettes, and he and his roommate use theirs every day.

“If we move to a unit that doesn’t have a kitchen in it, then that means I’ll have to up my meal plan or change my eating habits, which kind of sucks,” Dunbar said.

Dunbar and his roommate met prior to moving into Buchanan Towers, but depending on available housing, there is no guarantee they will stay together.

“We will do our very best to accommodate [students] as best we can,” Deardorff said. “But we can’t do everything.”

According to the spring 2019 renovation calendar, the south wing moves will be complete on March 4. After that, the final phase of the Buchanan Towers Residence renovation will begin.

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