This past academic year Beshears Hall was closed to students while renovations and upgrades were made to the interior. Also with upgrades came policy changes and the intent for more renovations to come.
With Beshears now up and ready to open this week, students can be ready to get what they paid for. The rooms have been completely repainted with brand-new shower units placed in the bathrooms. Some of the rooms have had some demolition and the plumbing reworked to make single rooms with single baths available for approximately $300 more. All the window units in the common suit area have also been replaced.
Michael Speros, director of housing, said, â€œThe frames were all one unit and have corroded over the years, so we replaced the glass with a more tempered one to detract the sunlight.â€
The suites were built in the early to mid ’70s and though adequate for the time, they have become outdated in more ways than one. This past summer, Western not only renovated Beshears but also changed the window frames and doors to all the suits. The total cost being approximately $200,000 for all three suites to receive new balcony windows, frames and doors. The balcony doors were replaced at the same time giving the residential staff the ability to lock disruptive students out of their balcony.
Speros said that past residents would take university furniture out onto the balconies exposing them to the elements. Also, students would leave garbage out on the balconies which is not only an eye sore but also a health hazard.
â€œWe will assess each incident on a suite by suite basis. Our goal is to have the four to eight persons living there to take ownership of the common space,â€ Speros said.
With Beshears reopening as a Junior-Senior or 21 and over residence hall, policies have been changed to accommodate this lifestyle. Beshears has been granted overnight visitation policies for the weekends only. This means if a student properly checks a guest into a residence hall, they will be able to stay overnight for the weekend only.
The Assistant Director of Housing, Sean Oâ€™Reilly said, â€œBeshears is a test case. If we can prove this works, and if students respect the policy, then we may expand it to other halls as well, but students need to work with us for this.â€
Oâ€™Reilly believes balconies and overnight visitation policies are privileges given to students but if you abuse a privilege it can be taken away.
â€œI think the balconies are a great place to get fresh air, socialize and relax but if a student abuses this privilege they can be locked for a short amount of time or if there are repeat offenders, it can be locked for good,â€ Oâ€™Reilly said.
Upperclassmen and returning students may find it difficult the first few weeks returning to the apartments. While in past years students were able to exit through the side doors, Vaselakos, Leaverton and the Living Learning Center will now have only one entrance through the lobby. Students will have to always have their room keys and student ID on them to enter the buildings. The side doors will be alarmed for emergency exits only.
â€œThis may start off as an inconvenience, but as long as student pay attention and abide by the policies this will increase security and safety for the residents here,â€ Speros said.
Even students living in the suits will have policy changes. Although doors will not be alarmed, all students will be expected to escort all guests around campus and must carry their keys and ID at all times.
Oâ€™Reilly is pleased with the suites being open to only upperclassman. He believes it is nice to have the common space and appropriate for students to choose three to seven friends to live with. Students can decorate as they please while having the safety and security the campus offers.
Suites are still in need of more major repairs, though the renovations to Beshears seemed to have fixed many of the problems. Since Logan was the first residence hall built on campus, it will most likely be the next to receive renovations. Also, the next step is to replace all the stair towers in the suites.
â€œThey are very sturdy and have held up for almost 30 years but the noise can be a distraction,â€ Speros said.
Western plans on replacing a stair tower each summer starting with summer 2007. Each stair tower estimates approximately $110,000 a piece.