Maintenance issues frustrate students who live in The Village

By Leda Alvim, Correspondent
On September 19, 2018

Ana Hernandez, assistant vice president of Housing and Residential Education, said that students should report every issue they encounter so her department can investigate it. ORACLE PHOTO/
CHAVELI GUZMAN

In between classes and busy schedules, some students face maintenance issues in The Village — the newest residence community on campus — creating frustration for some of the students who live there.

The Village started its construction in 2016, finishing the first phase in fall of 2017 — with the opening of two new residential buildings, Beacon and Summit — and finishing the final phase at the beginning of this semester with the addition of Horizon, Endeavor and Pinnacle.

However, some students are questioning whether the price paid to live in The Village is worth it after maintenance problems persist five weeks into the semester.

Alex Gonzalez lives on the first floor of Endeavor Hall with her roommate and fellow freshman Hanalyse Loboda. For the past month, they have been having issues in their dorm, resulting in more than 25 maintenance requests.

According to Gonzalez, everything started when she first moved in on Aug. 16 to participate in band camp. After only one hour in her room, all the lights and plugs stopped working.

Maintenance came in the same day to fix the problem. However, that same week Gonzalez had to call maintenance three additional times to fix the same problem that kept happening.

“I would get back from band camp exhausted after a long day of practice and neither my lights nor outlets would be working,” Gonzalez said. “One of my outlets that had my refrigerator was not working and I was afraid to lose all the food in it.”

According to Gonzalez, it took less than a day for the power to go out again after maintenance fixed the problem. This continued to happen for three consecutive weeks until they switched the room’s entire breaker.

After this issue was resolved, both Gonzalez and Loboda said they experienced another maintenance problem.

Last week, according to Loboda, she found a puddle of water forming under her desk after showering at about midnight. The problem was not fully solved by maintenance until 2:30 a.m., leaving Gonzalez and Loboda to clean the mess themselves.

Gonzalez said she is fed up with the issues.

“The whole situation is annoying,” Gonzalez said. “With both the flooding and the light issue, we could’ve been electrocuted or tripped on something.”

Ana Hernandez, assistant vice president of Housing and Residential Education, said that safety is the top priority of her department.

“All of the construction certainly went through an inspection process, so we do not anticipate that there are any hazards existing in the buildings,” Hernandez said. “If somebody else feels otherwise, we would want them to let us know whether they submit a work order or they come to report that directly to one of our 24-hour desk locations.”

According to Loboda, communication between workers was the biggest issue.

“The workers were really nice and respectful, however, one thing that made it hard was the communication between them,” Loboda said. “Even though our room was having problems all the time, nobody heard about them.”

According to Hernandez, there’s a professional team of staff located in each residential building that does a regular walk-through of the residence halls.

“With new construction, it just may bring new issues unique to a newly constructed building,” Hernandez said. “That’s why we ask students and we also engage with staff in each building to let us know if there are any issues.”

Besides those problems, both roommates reported that the elevator at their building breaks very often and the stove, located in the communal kitchen, was not working for the first three weeks of fall semester.

According to Gonzalez, she tried to make a maintenance request in order to fix the stove, however, according to the worker’s response — since not enough people were reporting the issue — they were not able to come.

Maritza Armengol, a freshman majoring in architecture, lives in Endevor Hall and said that she had fill out more than 10 maintenance requests in order to have her lights and outlets fixed.

“The maintenance issue I had while living in endeavor was that all the outlets would constantly go out,” Armengol said. “It was extremely inconvenient when I had an assignment or quiz due that day and my laptop would just shut down in the middle of it.”

It was not only in Endeavor that students had complaints regarding their housing situation.

Valentina Simão, a freshman majoring in chemical engineering, lives on the second floor of Horizon Hall and said the air conditioner installed in the entire building is not only disturbing her sleep, but it is also interfering with her studies when trying to finish assignments and study for exams due to the loud noise.

Linh Ho, a freshman majoring in finance, echoed the points of Simão. Living on the fifth floor of Horizon Hall, Ho said that the air conditioner is the worst thing about living in the village.

“The air conditioner is too loud,” Ho said. “Sometimes it is hard to sleep and it distracts me from focusing on my academics.”

According to Hernandez, despite not knowing the specifics of the problem, she said that students should first report the issue so they can further investigate the nature of it.

“It’s hard for me to determine whether there’s an issue with that particular air conditioning unit or whether it is the nature of the equipment that is in the building,” said Hernandez. “If we know where the issue is specifically happening, then we can have someone investigate that.”

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