Campus, News

Students share experiences living inside buildings not renovated since mid-’90s

student exits warren towers
Warren Towers. Most dormitories on campus have not been renovated since the mid-’90s, and students have expressed concerns over the quality of their living spaces. ROBERT BRANNING/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Three Boston University dormitories have been built or renovated in the past three decades, according to a University spokesperson. Students living in buildings that have not been recently renovated say they are unsatisfied with their residences, with some citing mold, water leakage and general signs of age.

The only residences that have been constructed in the past 30 years are 10 Buick Street and 33 Harry Agganis Way, and Myles Standish Hall reopened after renovations in 2018, BU spokesperson Colin Riley wrote in an email. Riley added BU has invested around $2 billion since the mid-1990s in renovating academic, research and athletic facilities.

“As you may know, facilities staff has worked non-stop for the past year throughout the pandemic installing signage, adding protective Plexiglas barriers, upgrading HVAC systems and filters, doing daily electrostatic disinfecting as well as regular cleaning, etc., without a break in order to keep the campus clean, sanitary and safe,” Riley wrote.“The pandemic has understandably interrupted some scheduled campus renovations and maintenance.”

In an interview, Riley said work that would typically have been done on residences during the summer was likely hindered last year due to the pandemic.

Riley added students should continue reporting issues with housing.

“If something isn’t operating properly, doors, windows, problems in the common areas or common baths,” Riley said, “don’t assume someone else is reporting it.”

Simone Velasquez, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Science, resides on the eighth floor of Kilachand Hall and has encountered silverfish, water leakage and centipedes this past year.

“At one point, Facilities [Management and Operations] came in and just gave us a bunch of towels,” she said. “They didn’t fix the leak, they just put towels all around the windows which was really weird.”

Velasquez added she has experienced trouble with the heating and cooling system in her room as well.

“They won’t turn on the AC in the building,” Velazquez said. “Now that it’s getting really hot, it’s just kind of gross and uncomfortable all the time.”

Aria Scopa, a junior in CAS, said she was originally supposed to live in a residence in South Campus but had to move because of extreme mold and rotten wood.

“When I showed up, for whatever reason it was like a weird room but it was all wood panel walls, except the bottoms of the walls were all rotted out and moldy,” she said. “There was holes in the wall. There was water damage to all of the painted surfaces.”

The paint in the room was chipped off and the walls had black mold — the extreme heat and water damage Scopa witnessed potentially being the cause, she said.

“I couldn’t even move in,” she said, “because I literally walked in the room and called housing immediately. It was awful.”

Scopa now lives in a brownstone single on Bay State Road and said her experience there is much better. However, she noted there are still many improvements needed.

“They’re really beautiful buildings, but they just need to be beautiful on the inside, too,” she said. “Things don’t have to be perfect, like super, expensive crazy, but just to be livable I think should be the bare minimum.”

Juliette Stokes, a sophomore in the College of General Studies, lives in Danielsen Hall and said it appears to be structured like an apartment building that was broken up to create more rooms for BU students to live in.

“Some people obviously have a living room and they have a fireplace and a big closet, but they don’t have a bathroom,” she said. “There’s definitely a lot of variation within the Danielsen rooms themselves.”

The main problems Stokes said she has with her dorm room are her window rattling and leaking when it rains, as well as the limited usage of the communal, somewhat malfunctioning kitchen this semester.

“One of my friends here had to replace the toaster with her own money, and I think approximately three of the burners work,” she said, “and they just unplugged all of our ovens because they were turning on to like 500 degrees by themselves in the middle of the night.”

Scopa said the University should improve its communication with students experiencing issues in their dorms and create a system that students can use to document maintenance issues.

“I’ve called before, and [BU Facilities] will be like ‘Oh, yeah we’ll send someone out’ but no one comes out,” she said. “It’s like, maybe just keep more on top of reports of things that are reported and actually have people come out to look at problems once you contact them.”

Stokes said BU Facilities should try to be more understanding when students call in and report problems they are experiencing.

“The general apathy is a little bit frustrating,” she said.

While she said she recognized it may be challenging for BU to solve all of these issues, listening to students is something they are capable of doing.

“Although it’s definitely hard for the university to fix some of these problems,” Stokes said, “I think at least pretending like they care about them would be a step up.”

Boston University Facilities Management and Operations declined to comment.


One Comment

  1. Maybe you should be complaining to residence life about this vs asking for free laundry, because that will just delay BU spending money for fixes. BU could have done renovations over the summer when no students were on campus but instead they cried about how much money they would lose with remote students and how much it would cut into their profit to test for Covid.

    Complain about real things like paying 70K to live in a tenement.