On March 5, North wing Bouton Hall residents received a phone call from Residence Life informing them that due to bathroom renovations they have been reassigned to other rooms on March 12 and have until March 24 to move out, for the remainder of the semester.
Additional information was then sent via email from Residence Life to all students affected by the renovations stating that they would have until March 10, to submit their preferences form and would then receive their room assignment on March 12 to have until March 24 to move. The email also provides details of the renovation project, stating that said project will begin on March 29 and is planned to be completed on Aug. 7.
“You will be able to fill out a preferences form to let us know if you want to remain in Bouton or be reassigned to another building.” reads the email. “You will receive your new room assignment on March 12, and will have until March 24 to complete your move, giving you an extended period of time to pack your belongings and move into your new room assignment at your leisure.”
“The representative spoke to my roommate and I over the phone informing us that we were required to move out of our room in Bouton Hall no later than March 24.” said second year, communication disorders major Molly Sckalor. “He went on to say that there would be bathroom renovations on our side of the hall that could not wait until the summer. We were told that a follow up email would be coming at around 7pm that night.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Stephanie Blaisdell explained that students were not informed of the renovations prior to the start of the semester because “there were many unknowns at the beginning of the semester and we did not want to disrupt students unnecessarily.”
On March 23 another email was sent to Bouton residents informing them that the parking lot behind the hall would also be affected by the bathroom renovations. Stating that students have until the evening of March 25 to move their cars from the parking lot as it will officially be closed the following morning.
Vice President for Administration and Finance Michele Halstead added on saying, “in the covid world, many construction projects have been paused and un-paused at a moment’s notice. When we learned we could move forward with this project, it was too late to move students before the semester began.”
“Renovations this large could not have been planned last minute, meaning they could have informed us before we moved in for the fall semester in August or in January for the spring semester,” Sckalor said, who would have rathered a warning of potential renovations when the school had originally learned about the project.
“Construction will include demolition and installation of new materials for the new bathroom suites. Contractors will do their best to limit excessive noise and disturbance to residents but will be using hand tools as needed for this work,” reads the email sent to Bouton residents.
“The bathroom renovation project has been in the planning for about four years. We completed the first phase of the project in the summer of 2019 and we are completing the balance of the bathroom renovations this spring/summer” said Assistant Vice president of Facilities Management John Shupe.
Shupe also explained that the renovations will take a lot of time, and starting the project now will guarantee that students returning in the fall will not be affected.
Third-year Chris Llanes, majoring in junior and adolescent education, explained that one serious aspect of the project that will be affecting him as well as many other people living on the third floor will be the limited access to restrooms.
“There is only one men’s communal bathroom on the third floor, so not to be an inconvenience to the people who already use the two gender-neutral bathrooms, I have to go to the second floor to find a men’s communal bathroom to use,” said Llanes.
The third floor of Bouton Hall holds two womens restrooms, one mens, and two gender neutral stalls. The renovation will be completely eliminating a men’s bathroom for the floor.
Additionally, the call that students received came during midterms week.
“It came at a time where it seemed so redundant to pack up a dorm room, unpack, and pack up again a month later that I decided to just go home for the rest of the semester instead,” said second year and art history major Mya Bailey. “I would have most definitely enjoyed staying in Bouton as I was president of hall gov and a night host, but it was too late in the semester and too hectic of a time that it felt better for me personally to just return home for the remainder of the semester instead of dealing with another school issue.”
“Having to move out in the middle of the semester, during a global pandemic, and being informed in the middle of midterms week was something I would never expect from a school that preaches ‘we not me,’” Sckalor said.