Author: Soo Jin Kim
This fall, Oxy students return to three newly renovated dorms. Wylie, Bell-Young and Erdman have received face-lifts from a renovation project that started in January 2008. All three dorms are newly adorned with air conditioning, energy-efficient heating, plasma TVs, new paint, new floor coverings, improved water-pressure and new landscaping. The total cost of the renovations reached $18 million.
Oxy’s facilities, contractors, city inspectors and many others have worked hard as a team to accomplish the renovation. “We’ve hired a series of contractors who did the work, and [our] facilities staff supervised the planning and worked closely [with the contractors],” Jim Tranquada, Director of Communications, said.
“I gave feedback on carpets, colors and different things like that,” Kecia Baker, Director of Residence Life and Housing Services, said. “This has been a year-long process, and I have met weekly with the architects and contractors since January.” “They’re beautiful,” Tranquada said, referring to the renovated residence halls. “Facilities did a great job and I know what a difference an air-conditioner makes particularly this time of the year.” Baker adds, “I love them. They’ve undergone a huge improvement whilst still maintaining the historical look and feel of the buildings as well.”
Even though the renovation has improved life for most students, many students have voiced complaints about their new accommodations. There have been complaints from Erdman residents. “There have been a few problems, like the air-conditioners which broke down for a few people,” Gisele Goldwater-Feldman (junior) said.
“With any construction, there are last minute issues,” Baker said. “We’re going through that phase now, like what we went through with Rangeview [when it first opened]. Our contractors are still here working on stuff and on whatever orders that students are asking.”
Tranquada said that in any project like the one taken on by Oxy to renovate residence halls, “a series of regulations are conducted by city inspectors.” This includes the inspection of everything from plumbing to wiring and, very importantly, fire alarms. Tranquada added that these inspections were conducted as “the project unfolded.”
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