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Open for business? Village residents wonder…

When students checked in to the University Village last Friday through Sunday, several discovered that their apartments were not as ready for their arrival as they were.

Some of the 422 residents who moved in to buildings 3, 4 and 7 last weekend, after almost a month of living in various hotels, discovered that some aspects of their new homes were not all in order. For example, students reported problems with air conditioners, water heaters, dish washers and washing machines.

Dr. Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs, acknowledged that there are some issues with the Village apartments, but emphasized that they were being addressed.

“We’re doing our best, but every time we open a new building there are going to be problems,” Whitely said.

Gilbert Arias, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, said that these issues are typical in a construction environment.

He explained that not all problems could be addressed after the university received a Temporary Certificate of Occupany last Tuesday and began preliminary checks last Wednesday, in order to allow for students to move in last Friday.

“Once the TCO was given there was not enough time for the university to go in and see what was working,” he said. “We didn’t do thorough inspections of the machines.”

The university received a second TCO last Wednesday, allowing for students to move in to the other buildings last Saturday.

He also said that the university wanted to move in residents because students, as well as the university, were getting anxious.

Arias said that the most important issues were being attended to first, with Facilities Planning and Construction Department personnel going door-to-door with checklists and assessing each residence.

“That’s why we decided to be pro-active; to make sure everything is working, apartment by apartment,” he said.

Arias said essentials, such as accessing the apartments and fixing AC units, were tended to immediately, with maintenance workers coming out late Monday night get ACs in commission.

Regarding water heaters, the university received 11 reports of problems and only three required replacement, Arias said.

Other issues include smoke detectors that beep, indicating they need a battery replacement, and broken shower curtain rods.

“Are there inconveniences? Yes, but we’re responding,” Arias said. “These are minor things we need to correct and we’re doing what we can to correct them. For the most part, everyone is happy.”

Problems were not limited to the physical buildings themselves.

Whitely said that as many as five carts full of students’ belongings fell out of a truck last week as a result of the doors not being properly secured. Arias elaborated, saying that the items, loaded by UNICCO workers, mixed together and that students were able to pick out their own possessions from the mix upon delivery. Some items broke in the fall.

“We naturally will be reimbursing them [students],” Arias said. He added that this was the only problem associated with students’ personal effects.

As for rumors that some students’ possessions stored by CollegeBoxes were lost, Arias said he has heard no such complaints. If a case arises, he said the university will take up the problem with CollegeBoxes, adding that any lost items would be replaced.

To their credit, Arias said that the university gave CollegeBoxes a schedule of who will be moving in and when, and they were there with the belongings all last Friday through Sunday.

CollegeBoxes and UNICCO workers assisted students with their possessions since several of the elevators in the apartments had shut down. Arias said that the inoperability resulted from sensors detecting that the doors remained open more than three minutes.

Arias also said that the university handed out ice water to students when they moved in to their apartments.

At the time of publication, 422 students checked in out of the 447 expected residents of buildings 3, 4 and 7. Keys outstanding for students who missed last weekend’s move-in period remain available, as do their hotels rooms.

Move-in times for buildings 5 and 6 are scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 29. Buildings 1 and 2 are expected to be completed by mid- to late October.

For University Village residents who wish to report an issue with their apartment, please contact 284-3680.

Greg Linch may be contacted at g.linch@umiami.edu.

September 15, 2006

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.