The New Residence Hall is Broken

Barnabas Brennan

Disclaimer: I wanted to make up some amusing jokes, but most of this is really just what

residents have shown me or told me about.

In the spring, a skeleton arose on the corner of E 115th Street and Wade Park, and all of a sudden, there was a university facility. I pass the new residence hall every day. On one occasion, I commented, “It’s looking good.”

A gruff construction worker responded, “It looks the same as it did yesterday.”

But it still was not ready. Upper class students spent the first four weeks in limbo. When they were finally able to move in, it was clear the work was not done.

My investigative reporting has confirmed one thing: The new residence hall is broken. The townhouses are effectively isolated from the rest of the building, but the large windows take away any sense of privacy. The security station isn’t positioned well to watch the area anyway.

The rest of the building forms an S-shape five stories tall, lined with suites. Only the north wing has five full floors. It wraps around a quasi-courtyard facing the softball field, and floodlights illuminate the building for no one to see. The lights do succeed in shining upward into the windows of students trying to sleep.

The rooms lack soundproofing, and the walls don’t reach the ceiling. The CWRU community isn’t quite close enough that you want to hear every time your neighbors get frisky. The ventilation seems to have the opposite problem. Air conditioning scarcely reaches the bedrooms, and there are four-inch grills in the ceiling instead of fume hoods for the stoves. The fire alarms, one or more in every room, used to go off several times a day. The average has now decreased to twice per week.

The kitchens have small sinks and no dishwashers, and you can only get to the laundry room through one hallway. The only elevator for handicap accessibility is at the center of the building, which means you’re better off pitching a tent in the lobby rather than trying to reach an easy way up. Several spots in the upper floors open inexplicably to the floors below, one of which vertically connects two study rooms.

It’s just begging for someone to get hurt climbing over and sue the university. The cute balcony and roof garden, however, isn’t even open to students.

I interviewed a fourth year who is looking at the bright side. She noted that there is no asbestos in the walls and “the elevator works, for now.” Then she optimistically noted the facility seemed “hobbled together,” and cheerfully recommended, “Do not ever pick this house to live in, ever.”

The current facility name is “1576,” but since that’s literally the address, there have beenseveral suggestions for what to call it, including ‘Village House 8,’ ‘The Afterthought,’ ‘The Monsters under Your Bed Are SAGES Seminars,’ ‘[Insert Name of Generous Donor Here]’ and ‘Glass Half Empty, Building Half Finished.’

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