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Senate housing committee identifies several options for dorm improvements

The university is analyzing results from a student committee that investigated on-campus housing further than Student Body President Kyle Malinowski thought it would.
“The original intent was to bring it as an information item, and they looked at it and thought it was something worth investing in,” he said. “[The Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees] has challenged the administration to come up with a long-term plan on housing.”
The committee, comprised of seven students from various areas of campus, completed its report at the end of last semester.
It called for five immediate improvements to all residence halls: installation of swipe card ID access for external doors, wireless Internet on all floors, new furniture in lobbies and lounges, more laundry machines and modifications to the fire alarm system, citing that the alerts are too quiet.
However, two dorms need more serious issues addressed first.
“The most vital ones are the ones that concern safety within the residence halls,” Malinowski said. “In Heitz [Hall], there is no sprinkler system. In Geisert [Hall], there is no sprinkler system on the tenth floor or basement.”
The report says these issues should “be addressed within a two-year period,” as many of them have already been reported “but either rejected or poorly addressed.” Students in Heitz have expressed frustrations with these issues for many years.
“I think they shouldn’t charge the residents of Heitz the same room and board as students in other buildings,” freshman AEP major Greer Burke-Anderson said. “We aren’t getting the same amenities as other dorms and we have to pay more out of our own pockets for AC units and for the installation of those units.”
Freshman sports communication major Michael Diaz DeLeon said he is scared knowing the building may not be properly prepared for emergency situations.
“The other day my neighbors were messing around and could have burned the whole building down,” he said.
Although Malinowski said he was overwhelmed and surprised by positive responses from the student survey, he said changing the residence halls is vital for attracting future students to Bradley.
“We have the typical 1960s-style jail-cell style dormitories, where other institutions across the country are moving toward more mature living styles,” he said.
Heitz and Geisert included the most recommendations for change overall.
“Anyone who’s lived on campus for more than six seconds knows Heitz needs some repairing,” Malinowski said. “I was kind of surprised about Geisert.”
Although Heitz is the only dorm without air conditioning, the report’s recommendations are based more on broken furniture, ineffective lighting and plumbing.
The report said floors in Geisert are slippery and the office is barely standing, as its walls shake upon entry and exit. The committee also supported Food Services’ proposed cafeteria renovations, and recommends the changes be done within two years.
Changes for Harper Hall include adding screens to the windows and redoing conference rooms, while Wyckoff Hall’s only adjustment is to redo the Gazebo.
The committee has requested the university fix University Hall’s game room, add a lock to the main stairwell and find a solution to ongoing mold problems.
In Williams Hall, the fifth floor is cited as having leaks and lighting issues, and the only request for the Singles buildings is to fix Wendle Hall lounge’s broken TV and furniture.
The report also said a residence hall “should contain only amenities that benefit the residents” and said the university using the halls’ space for other purposes is a problem.
“A residence hall is a student’s home away from home and should only contain amenities and services that benefit their affairs,” the report says.
The report’s recommendations for long-term improvements include increased resources allocated for residence halls, all residence hall areas being open to residences and transforming rooms to suite-style.
Malinowski said he was also surprised with students’ dissatisfaction with the residence halls’ cleanliness, as the report cited the halls were especially dirty on the weekends and staff could be unfriendly.
“I believe that people are happy living in the residence halls, but they’re looking for something more,” Malinowski said. “The fact that when you wake up you only have five minutes to walk to class is something I treasure.”
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