The residential colleges, as we know them, have not been renovated since the 1980s, with the exception of a touch-up to Stanford’s lobby last year.
The Miami Hurricane inquired within the Department of Housing and Residential Life about plans for revamping housing in the future, and Housing’s Executive Director, James Smart, told us about the possibility of a decade-long plan to renovate or reconstruct existing dorms and the addition of a new building.
While plans to remodel are welcome, we don’t understand why it has taken 30 years to address the housing situation.
In the past, students’ relationship with housing has been rocky. Students are forced off campus, and some even end up living in hotels across the street while paying for room and board to UM. Then, in 2006, there was a light at the end of the hall … or so we thought.
UM added the UV, but there is still clearly not enough housing for the growing student body.
Now, there is talk about a possible 10-year plan, but this means a decade worth of students dealing with the same housing problems, plus additional construction nightmares.
The dorms themselves are in need of a major facelift. Replacing corroded faucets or terrible mattresses would be quick fixes that would make a huge difference in quality of living for residents.
If UM were to demolish any dorms, they would have to have another building already constructed to house students. But it does not sound as though additional housing is as much of a priority as renovations.
Also, Smart said that renovations would start with the “neediest” dorms, Hecht and Stanford. The plan to make the first-year dorms more communal suggests a plan to draw in prospective students and does not address current issues.
Smart mentioned the need for a stronger community feel to the freshman dorms, but the real problems lay in the upperclassman dorms, Mahoney and Pearson. Freshman dorms focus on community and group activities, but the upperclassman dorms are relatively shut out from the rest of campus.
We understand that rushing construction leads to faulty buildings, such as the un-waterproofed UV, which flooded constantly until the problem was recently addressed. However, the priority should be to renovate current dorms, not to begin new construction.
Overall, the long-term plans to renovate are good, but we need a quicker solution for the present.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.