I lived in Campion Hall last year, which is one of the nicer freshman residence halls on campus, along with Gonzaga Hall. I knew that it was one of the better dorms, and I appreciated the air conditioning, the relatively modern interior and those fancy water bottle refill stations. For sophomore year, I didn’t apply to any of the newer buildings like Meditz Hall or Sister Thea Bowman Hall for various reasons, so I went into my second year acknowledging that the dorm I was living in would probably be worse than Campion.
During move-in week, I learned three things about Kostka. One is that we don’t have an elevator on my side of the building. Fine. I found a door that was only one staircase below my room, so it wasn’t the end of the world like last year when I would have to walk to the fourth floor when the elevator broke. I feel for the people who live on the top floor, though. I struggled when my elevator was broken for a few days, never mind being broken without knowing when it would be fixed.
The second was when I learned that Kostka has no drinking water fountains. That was, frankly, scary to learn. Brittas can be relatively cheap if you consider up to $40 cheap, but drinking water should be necessary for every dorm. I went to Claver the other day to try and find water on the first floor, but I couldn’t find any, so I walked all the way over to the BCC with an armful of water bottles to fill.
Finally, the third thing I learned during my first-floor meeting was that my RA said that our bathrooms would probably get mold because the bathrooms weren’t built with vents. He told us how to clean them to try and prevent it, but sometimes it still happens. Expecting mold should not be allowed. It is unsanitary and unsafe.
This can’t be said for Kostka, but I also don’t understand why not every sophomore dorm has laundry. I initially chose to live in Kostka because I didn’t want to lug my laundry into a different building. Again, considering the price of rooming at Fairfield, I find this a bare minimum for a dorm to have.
I understand that this is an older dorm, but some of these things are basic necessities for living. According to Fairfield’s website, the price for a traditional double is $10,700. This is too much money to not have proper resources in the dorm. The building’s outdated interior and weird design can be explained by it being old, but it doesn’t explain why we’re expected to deal with mold and have to walk through campus to access water.
I was questioning why exactly Kostka, Claver and Faber haven’t been renovated (Though Faber is in the process of expanding), and I realized that the school focus seems to be adding more buildings to make up for over-admitting the last few classes.
Everyone who pays for room and board deserves a room, so I get the logic behind building more dorms to ensure everyone has a place to live. That being said, the dorms that are being built are already filled with design problems because they were rushed to build. Sister Thea Bowman Hall was built last year for sophomores to live in, and within the first day of living there, residents already noticed problems.
Sophomore Angelina Brandon, who lives in the residence said, “The experience of the showers in Bowman flooding the very first week made the transition back difficult, to say the least.” She went on to further explain the flooding. “Every time a person in the suite showered, the water would go past the drain, leaving the floor soaked to the point where water was almost out the door.” The flooding issue has been fixed, but that never should have happened in the first place. Yet again, it’s not a minor fault with a building. Flooding isn’t just annoying. It can be really unsafe if it gets out of hand.
In his email on Aug. 29, Dean William Johnson, Ph.D. revealed that construction was beginning to add onto Faber Hall. That was the only information provided in the email, but I’m insinuating their focus is adding more rooms to Faber rather than dealing with interior issues. I’m not entirely sure why they’re adding on to Faber instead of adding on to a dorm that is not on the other side of campus, but that’s my opinion.
Frankly, I’m not sure why they made Faber because there lies yet another issue. Kostka is pretty far from most things on campus, so I can’t imagine how people living in Faber feel. I understand their need to provide housing for everyone, but I think Fairfield needs to own up to the fact that they have been over-admitting students and they’re trying to compensate with the mass production of new dorms. New dorms that are not worth the price that rooming actually is.
As for my theory that Fairfield is trying to become a bigger school, they should ensure they have the resources before doing that. That includes taking time to add additions to dorms or building new dorms entirely so that safety issues like flooding and mold aren’t a problem. We shouldn’t be building yearly; this should have been thought of years in advance if their plan truly is to expand the school.
In this plan to expand, they should also consider the quality of the buildings because it can affect a student’s view of the school and make them not want to be at Fairfield. Even if they are just over-admitting students, we should not have to suffer because of administration mistakes. I wonder if it would be possible for the school to simultaneously upgrade the dorms while expanding.
Adding a water bottle fill system certainly isn’t as expensive as building an entirely new building. I think out of anything, the most expensive would be including a laundry room in every building, but again, it is cheaper than building an entirely new dorm, and it would improve student’s livelihood.
Ultimately, I wish that Fairfield would work on upgrading the buildings they already have instead of putting all of their attention on creating new buildings, but in the end, there are still benefits to having more dorms on campus.
Managing Editor Max Limric works as a Resident Assistant for Residence Life, and thus did not read, edit or have any part in the creation of this article before publication.