Elder residents compensated for inconveniences caused by prolonged construction


Daily file photo by Noah Frick Alofs

Elder Hall residents said construction started in the building as early as 8:30 a.m. during the past few months. After expressing their concerns to project coordinators, construction will now start no earlier than 9:30 a.m.

Zoe Malin, Reporter

After receiving student feedback at an Elder Hall Dining Forum, project coordinators informed residents about changes made to the building’s renovation schedule in an email sent last week. Students were also made aware that they would receive $200 in Cat Cash and increased food offerings in the building for breakfast and dinner due to the inconveniences prolonged construction has caused.

The email was sent by Robert Gross, manager of construction projects; Jim Roberts, senior executive director for division services; Stacey Brown, director of NU Dining and Carlos Gonzalez, director of housing operations and services.

“We have put in place several measures to help support students while the dining hall is closed,” Brown told The Daily in an email. “We hope that the solutions we presented help address some of [their] concerns.”

Changes to Elder Dining Hall’s construction schedule include weekday hours adjustments to 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday hours to 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Residents previously said constriction started between 8:30 and 9 a.m.

Construction will also cease during reading and finals week, which did not happen during Winter Quarter. The email also stated “electrical and plumbing shutdowns related to this project will be moved to June 17 or later,” and fire alarm testing will be moved to June 15 or later. This comes after an April 1 power outage, as previously reported by The Daily.

Upon learning about the updates, McCormick freshman Jacob Rogers said he is “pretty happy with what they’ve done.” He said he is “impressed” by the communication opened between students and the project’s coordinators. To report issues, give feedback or request a room change, students can now message a specific email address.

They’ve worked hard to make this right,” Rogers said. “They heard our complaints and found a solution that works best for everyone.”

However, the Cat Cash given to all Elder residents was not the financial compensation some students were hoping for. Referencing Residential Services “Rights and Responsibilities” webpage, Weinberg freshman Abby Heath said it states that residents in University housing hold the “right to read, study, and live free from undue interference, unreasonable noise, and other distractions which inhibit the exercise of this right.”

She feels Elder’s construction “directly violates” her rights. Because of this, Heath said she would have liked a “partial refund” for 2018-2019 housing payments. McCormick sophomore Aaron Ahles agrees.

“The $200 Cat Cash is honestly a slap in the face,” Ahles said, who has lived in Elder for two years. “I think the University is being completely inconsiderate of the actual situation.”

Brown said Elder Dining Hall will “open with full service” in Fall 2019. In the meantime, construction will continue according to the new schedule. Since the project coordinators’ email was sent to residents, Rogers said he has heard the construction start later in the morning.

“The email admitted to their mistakes and showed they’re are trying their best to fix it,” Rogers said. “But there were a lot of promises in the email, so hopefully those are kept.”

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