Mercyhurst spent over $750,000 in housing renovations for the 2014-2015 academic year. Residence Life oversaw the renovations that occurred on the McAuley and Baldwin freshman halls and the Briggs and Lewis upperclassman apartments.
McAuley had it’s halls repainted and also got a new TV in the main living area, although it has yet to be set up. Baldwin Hall had its kitchens redone and also had a new TV added to its main living area. Warde Hall had all of its common areas redone.
The Briggs and Lewis apartments received new furniture, including new mattresses and dressers. On the bathrooms, caulk was applied between the tiles that needed extra care. A couple of buildings in the upperclassman apartments had the roof’s shingles replaced.
Residence Life made sure that everything looked neat, even if it was functional, or as Vice President of Student Life, Laura Zirkle Ph.D. described it,” I don’t call it dirty, I call it dirty looking.”
Zirkle also stated that a second furniture crew was hired during the summer to help replace over 500 old mattresses with new ones.
The renovations at the beginning of the last academic year. To get a clear feedback about housing situation, Residence Life organized a forum and a focus group of students expressing their concerns over housing. Along with that, many students and Resident Assistants had personally come up to Zirkle to express their concerns about their own current living.
According to the feedback, many students were unhappy with their housing situation. The small bedrooms and the bathrooms were the two places students wanted to see renovated the most. Residence Life than decided to invest on the various concerns they had received from students.
They shared the student feedback with the Board of Directors in March 2013. The board toured the buildings and decided to take action. They allowed $750,000 to be spent on renovating Mercyhurst housing, including the additional costs. However, the actual spending went to about a million dollars.
One of the biggest concerns students had was maintenance and their efficiency in responding work orders. Residence Life approached Maintenance to search for ways to improve their services. In years past, when residents wanted to report something to maintenance, they had to go to their RAs, who in turn had to go to the Assistant Director. To make the process more efficient, students can now directly submit their own maintenance work order via the portal.
Zirkle said Student Life is hoping to get the halls in the apartments painted, along with renovations in the living areas, and continue the renovations with the Duval apartments and the Townhouses. Over the summer, new vanities were ordered for the apartment, but they did not come in on time. These are expected to be in place in the near future.
Big renovations aren’t certain for next year. Housing renovations usually occur every year here at Mercyhurst, but Residence Life is still not certain whether a big one will occur once again next year, Zirkle said.