A little over a week ago, Kellee Sheld packed her bags and moved from her small town outside of Hartford across the state to UW-Eau Claire for her freshman year of college.
Amid all the changes she had expected in going away to college, one has surprised her in particular: unfinished construction in her dorm continuing into her second week of classes.
Since moving into the newly remodeled Karlgaard Towers Hall, Sheld was frustrated when she spent more than four hours doing laundry at the nearby Murray Hall, as the laundry room, kitchen and exercise room remain under construction at Karlsgaard. She also found bathrooms remained without soap and toilet paper dispensers until two days ago.
“I just thought this was supposed to be brand new and just remodeled,” Sheld said. “It’s really minor things and there’s not much we can do about it, but still. It’s frustrating.”
However, according to UW-Eau Claire housing and residence life director Quincy Chapman, construction at South Hall is actually ahead of schedule — the kitchen, exercise room and laundry weren’t slated to be finished until January but will be completed within the next couple of weeks.
The only unplanned, unfinished aspect was the toilet paper and soap dispensers, which had been put on back order and didn’t come in until the weekend, Chapman said.
The $35.9 million, student-funded Karlgaard Towers Hall renovation project includes expanding and improving the dorm’s bathrooms, improvements of common areas, adding a new entrance to the building, replacing windows and doors, repairing exterior surfaces, replacing aging heat, ventilation and plumbing systems and replacing antiquated furniture and carpets.
The hall has been under construction since last September, as work is split between its north and south buildings. Towers North will remain under construction and unoccupied by students for the academic year.
“In order to be able to renovate a building where students can actually live in it while you have to renovate another part of it, everything was done in phases,” Chapman said. “Obviously, that creates a bit of a logistics puzzle.
“I understand they’re working on it; it just really is frustrating,” said Skyler Schroeder, a freshman from DeForest. “But what’s more annoying to me is that they’re starting over there and they haven’t finished over here yet. It just makes me a little less understanding.”
Another source of students’ and parents’ frustration is the increased cost for a remodeled room in Towers in spite of unfinished construction. Students pay $500 more for a Towers room at $5,200 for the academic year compared with a regular double room in any other dorm estimated to cost $4,700.
Contact: 715-833-9206, email@example.com, on Twitter @SamanthaWest196