Griffon Hall problems reach a peak, Stier addresses solutions

By Matthew Hunt

March 23, 2012

By this time next year, residents of Griffon Hall will hopefully have all complaints put to rest.

Mark Stier, Director of Residence Life, said that all new facilities have issues and with Griffon Hall, there are issues but they are minor. Part of the problem with the residence is the amount of time it takes for maintenance to come and fix problems. Stier said Griffon Hall doesn’t use the same maintenance people as the other halls. Currently the dormitory is under a one year warranty; when major issues develop, maintenance must first contact the original contractors in order to avoid voiding any building or equipment warrantees.

“Our maintenance staff will of course do all the cleaning and minor maintenance issues,” Stier said. “However, larger items need to be evaluated to determine if they are part of the warranty process.”

The issues that seem to concern students deal mostly with hearing thuds when it’s windy, sinks falling apart and holes in the walls that don’t hold electrical outlets. Bridget Janssen, RHA President and Griffon Hall resident, said that she likes Griffon Hall overall, but does see room for improvement. She said one of her concerns was the suites not having microwaves when other halls do.

Stier said that they did a comparison of off-campus facilities and none of them come with microwaves unless they are built in. He said each commons area in the residence halls has microwaves and most students bring microwaves with them.

“We are trying to compete with other off-campus facilities,” Stier said. “Our facilities match or exceed the others.”

Residents of Griffon Hall are concerned with not having Ethernet cables in the rooms. Griffon Hall resident Jenny McCutchan said there is one internet jack in each suite, but it’s not in a place easy to access.

“The Ethernet cable is tucked away in the corner behind the couch,” McCutchan said.

Stier said part of the reason there are not Ethernet cables in the rooms is because Western has a strong wireless connection. He said the university is providing top-quality internet service and that only having one internet jack in the living room was sufficient enough. Stier doesn’t really know how the university plans to address this issue.

Dr. Vartabedian has made it very clear that the residence halls are a major focus for his administration, Stier said. He said the President toured all the residence halls in December to ensure that any concerns regarding the halls were personally voiced to him.

“Issues brought up were immediately addressed by facilities and Residencial Life,” Stier said.

Griffon Hall resident Alaina Rickard said that one problem is a thud that seems to come from the roof.

“When it’s windy outside it sounds like a thunderstorm,” Rickard said. “It sounds like something’s falling from the roof.”

Stier said he hasn’t heard of this problem yet. He said that he is more than willing to check out the problem, and said there might be something up there that may have come loose.

“There is an access panel to the roof that only maintenance has access too,” Stier said. “We can check on that.”

Other students feel that the hall’s noisiness deals mainly with installation problems.

“Sometimes you can hear people stomping,”  resident Devin Negrete said. “It also depends if you have someone living in the complex next to you. I did and I can hear the T.V. If they blared it, I could hear the T.V. straight through the wall.”

Resident Lindsey Jackson noted that she often hear stomps and loud thuds in the halls. She also stated that their kitchen sink was broken as well. However, maintenance fixed the issue three days after they put in their request.

“There is not very good insulation in the walls,” Jackson said. “Even running in the hall you can hear it. It’s like a herd of elephants.It’s just little things that could be fixed.”

Stier said that his crew and the Residence Hall Director for Griffon Hall, Danny Thompson, will not go through Griffon Hall until the end of the school year when students leave. At that time they will be able to go through and document any problems that they see and fix them.

“We will go room to room, bathroom to bathroom,” Stier said. “We will make an inventory of items that must be fixed.”

In regard to numerous complaints and issues invoving Griffon Hall, Thompson refused to comment.

Student AJ Mercer said that he personally feels maintenance problems aren’t getting done at all. He often sees the maintenance workers but noted that he rarely sees them working.

“Well, my room is 85 degrees right now,” Mercer said. “The spigot on the bottom of my kitchen drain fell off, and I had to repair it myself after three days. No one came. It’s been two months since one of my drawers busted and it hasn’t been touched. The carpeting is coming up in half the room. The power flickers. It’s a complete dump. [Maintenance] came by and fixed the island that fell over. That fell over with no reason; just fell over!”