by Alexis Lahr
Nine months out of the year the dorms are occupied and full of life. When summer comes they are left empty, and in many cases, damaged.
Each summer the housing, maintenance and housekeeping staff work to repair and clean the dorms to prepare them for fall.
After students leave for the summer, the housing and maintenance staff go through all of the rooms in the dorms and write up work orders for repairs.
Robert Beebe, assistant director of facilities management, said the most common dorm room repairs are painting and fixing broken deadbolts.
Beebe said some dorm rooms are “pristine,” while others are trashed.
“Typically Brandt and Stu-Han don’t need a lot of attention, but the Oaks are awful,” he said.
Julie Thurman-Francisco, director of housing and residential life, said she has seen damages ranging from graffiti and spilled candle wax to those resulting from a salsa fight.
One room Beebe repaired had an intricate painting covering one wall, permanent marker and painted handprints covering another wall, and burn damage on a bed. The residents of that room also had a pet cat, which added to the mess and caused an unpleasant odor.
“It was the absolute worst,” Beebe said. He added that students “need to take some sense of responsibility.” He said he does not understand why students choose to trash the space where they live.
Thurman-Francisco explained that residents are billed for any damage they do to their room. Some of the fees are standard, such as the trash removal fee or the moved furniture fee.
For unusual damages, housing and maintenance determine how much the repair will cost, including supplies and labor. These costs are passed along to the resident who caused the damage.
Thurman-Francisco said there are no major renovations planned in the dorms this summer.
The housing and maintenance staff will be focused on “normal upkeep and scheduled maintenance,” she said.
Some of this regular maintenance includes painting, re-carpeting, air-conditioning work, plumbing and electrical repair, and tree trimming.
The housekeeping staff works on a limited basis during the summer steam cleaning carpet and thoroughly cleaning bathrooms.
As far as fixing the sprinkler problem in the Oaks F building, Thurman-Francisco said she plans to meet with maintenance to discuss a solution.
Repairs and renovations to the dorms usually depend on the budget for the year. The University takes into account what each department needs and takes their wish lists into consideration.
“They have to look at the whole University,” Thurman-Francisco said.
Students are not allowed to live in the dorms during the summer.
Thurman-Francisco said the University used to allow conference and camp groups to rent dorm rooms during the summer.
However, since the rooms were occupied, maintenance could not get in them to make repairs.
ULV felt this was not fair to the residents who would be living there the next year, so it was decided that no other groups should be allowed to stay in the dorms.
Although outside groups are not allowed to rent spaces in the dorms during the summer, a few University groups use one floor in the Oaks.
The Institute for Multicultural Research and Campus Diversity houses students in the dorms for their eight-week summer academy program.
In addition to this, a few student workers for the office of housing and residential life also stay in the dorms.