Isolated incidents increase damage costs

A few major damage cost incursions have driven up the College’s damage total this year, while most houses have continued a downward trend, according to Bea Miles, director of Facilities. Miles reported that Tyler Annex in particular has experienced far more damage incidents than usual, contributing to the total campus damage cost upwards of $11,000 since the start of the school year.

Miles reported that the total cost of damages thus far – excluding Tyler Annex – is approximately $6800, which includes house damages, bio-cleanups and fire safety violation fines. Eight bio-cleanups have factored into the damages costs: two in Spencer, two in Brooks and one each in Perry, Tyler Annex, Williams Hall and Goodrich Hall. The cost for the bio-cleanups totals $1200, while fire safety violations account for an additional $1300.

The remaining $4300 attributed to damages is approximately $700 less than the damage costs reported last year before spring break. “Damages are still down across most of campus,” Miles said. This decrease reflects a continuation of the smaller damage totals reported during the fall semester. Damage totals in mid-November 2008 totaled $2679, compared to a $2800 total at the same time the previous November.
While past years have included unusual damage costs – from an overturned vending machine in 2005 to washing machine repairs last spring as a result of pennies flicked into laundry coin slots – Miles reported that most damage costs this year have come from an accumulation of post-party repairs or clean-ups.

Miles said that Dennett currently has an unusually large damage bill of $1570 due to repairs after a party earlier in the year. Spencer has accrued a $763 damage total, and Tyler House’s total is currently $354.
Despite the decreases across individual dorms, however, the College damages total for the year will likely be far higher than usual. According to Miles, “We have a continuing issue in [Tyler] Annex. There are two extremely large bills that we haven’t sent out yet, but I believe their total damages so far are between $4,000 and $5,000.”

Because the bills are so large, and because some of the events are recent, Miles and Facilities staff are still in the process of assessing and totaling costs. “We have not been able to get a handle on the situation, and it’s still continuing,” Miles said. “We’re working with Campus Life and the Dean’s Office on the issues we have there.”

Ashley Taylor ’11, one of the two Tyler Annex Baxter Fellows, expressed frustration with the situation facing her house. “Most of the time, it’s been general cleanups, although they have been fairly frequent,” she said. “Many of the bigger things, people haven’t known who’s done it. As far as I can gather, no one knows who’s done anything.”

While Tyler House and Annex have exceeded damage caps in the past, with Tyler House accumulating a $1216 total at this time last year, Miles was unable to recall such a dramatic problem in recent memory. “It’s much worse than in the past,” she said.