West College: renovations pending

During the course of this summer, West College will undergo over one million dollars worth of renovations. New heating, sprinkler and fire alarm systems will be installed and bathrooms remodeled. There will also be an extra bathroom added to each floor, as there is currently one bathroom per floor.

Preach Duggins, ‘00, definitely thinks that changes should be made. He said he has enjoyed living here this year, but, “It gets annoying when the hot water stops running, you’re standing in the shower waiting for hot water and all that comes out is cold water.” He also said the fire alarm goes off “at random times, for five to 10 minutes and then stops.” He says the alarm rings only in the room where there is smoke, not the whole building, “which is better, I think, because someone could just be smoking a cigarette.”

Akeela Ali, ‘98 said, “The heating sucks. It is very inefficient. The temperature is either too hot or too cold.”

Phil Groth ‘00 adds, “The bathrooms and everything else in the building are really old. The heaters are worthless. My room goes from 120 degrees to 10 below.”

The first floor of West will undergo reconfiguration regarding the common area. The current common room will become a student room. The new common room will be on the first floor on the east side of the building.

There will be several other changes. New lighting will be installed throughout the building. There will also be new furniture in all student rooms. Most of the rooms will be carpeted, but some will be tiled for students with allergies. Though many additions and changes will be made, there will only be one more room as a result of the renovations, making 45 rooms instead of the current total of 44.

The renovations this summer are just “part of a series of scheduled renovations,” according to Director of Housing Tom McEvoy. Last summer, Thompson Hall and Doughty House were renovated. Bruce Decoteau, Construction Supervisor for Buildings and Grounds said those two projects were successfully completed last summer. “With Thompson, it was complicated, but it went very well,” Decoteau said. Those two buildings were worked on simultaneously during a 10-week period. This summer, Wood House and Fort Hoosac (for graduate students) will also be renovated. Scheduled for next summer is Tyler House, Miller House and Lambert House. As the on-campus draw looms near, McEvoy wants students who are planning to pick into West and Wood to keep in mind that “they won’t be able to move into their rooms until September 5. The regular day for moving into dorms is September 2.”

Despite the need for renovations, students like living in West.

Groth says, “Everyone lives here for different reasons. Some people come because of the proximity to the Science Quad. Others come with their friends, others got a really bad lottery pick. My room is on the corner, which is pretty sweet. If my friends were to stay around, I’d consider squatting.”

Duggins is applying to be a Junior Advisor, but if he doesn’t get accepted, he would consider squatting as well. Ali, having been at West for almost two and a half years, can offer an experienced perspective on the building. “I first came here when I was a sophomore. I got the absolute last pick in the draw that year, so I lived in Greylock first semester, but didn’t get along with my suitemates, so I was allowed to go to West. When the campus draw came around again, I didn’t really want to move because I had no faith in the lottery system, so I stayed for my junior year. During my junior year, me and a group of my friends went into the co-op/off campus draw together, but things didn’t work out, so I stayed here again. The floors are absolutely disgusting and the stairwell is nasty, but overall it is pretty good here. I love my room and I’m glad I stayed for my senior year because I got to meet people like Jeremy [Rothe-Kushel 00’], Jeff [Roizen ‘00], Colin [Chard ‘00] and Jeff [Lisciandrello ‘00].” When told of some of the changes, Ali agreed that they needed to be done and added “I hope they do built-in closets.” She is a little bitter that she won’t be around to see the renovations, but her experience at West has gone well. “The people here have been really cool. I have no complaints, and in that respect, I’ve been really lucky.”

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