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Forest Quadrangle renovation leaves students with mixed feelings


Emma Snyder and her mother move her things to B Tower of Forest Quadrangle. B Tower was renovated over the course of the fall semester and now includes kitchens on every floor, private bathrooms and lounges. A Tower is now being renovated and will continue to be over the course of the spring semester. Peter Talbot Buy Photos

At 5:15 p.m. Saturday, the front loop of Forest Quadrangle was filled with 24 cars. 

Families bussed back and forth from the old West Tower to the updated East Tower, pushing large blue carts filled with cardboard boxes, mini-fridges and other belongings.

Renovations on the East Tower of Forest Quadrangle were completed over winter break, meaning residents had to move all of their belongings to the new tower when they returned for the spring semester.

Students have mixed feelings about the renovations, as some of the updates cut back on resources the previous tower had.

Renovations began in May 2017. According to the Residential Programs and Services website, the renovation cost $15 million.

RPS was not immediately available for comment. 

According to the RPS website, the update includes new windows, private restrooms and break rooms with a refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, sink and storage cabinets.

Students were able to move their belongings themselves starting Jan. 3, or were able to schedule an appointment with a provided moving company to have their things moved for them, according to the RPS website. 

Students have until Jan. 10 to move all of their belongings, after which they will not have access to the old West Tower.

Students move their things to B Tower of Forest Quadrangle while A Tower is being worked on. B Tower was renovated over the course of the fall semester and includes new bathrooms, kitchens and lounges.  Peter Talbot Buy Photos

Students were also asked to move their bicycles from the West Tower bicycle lot to the East Tower Bicycle lot. Several bicycles were still stranded behind a construction fence as of Monday morning.

Sitha Vallabhaneni, freshman, said she had mixed feelings about the move to the updated tower.

“Part of me was like ‘Ugh, gotta move,’” Vallabhaneni said. “But then, we were also moving to something that is supposedly better.”

Each floor now has six all-gender private bathrooms with a toilet, sink and shower as well as six communal sinks. The previous tower had two communal bathrooms, one for men and one for women.

Vallabhaneni said she doesn’t think six bathrooms will be enough, but that they are an improvement on the old bathrooms because the West Tower bathrooms were dirty.

“I feel like there could be more because six for fifty people is like nothing,” Vallabhaneni said.

Another resident, Elsbeth Sanders, is upset that the new tower no longer includes cable access through a coax cord.

“I'm mad because I found out about the cable about three days before the last semester ended and now we don't have it anymore,” Sanders said. “I was so mad.”

Signs around the building list other ways to access cable that are not as convenient, such as using a smart TV to connect through, connecting a computer to the TV with an HDMI cord, and streaming Xfinity to the computer and using a Google Chromecast or ROKU device.

“My favorite thing is on the signs it says, ‘You can still get cable TV by going to,’”  Sanders said. “And I'm like ‘That's not cable. That's now what that is.’”

Both Sanders and Vallabhaneni said the move itself was fairly easy. It took Sanders three trips to move her room, including the trips the movers took, and Vallabhaneni took only two with help from her father.

The renovated tower also includes a kitchenette on each floor with a refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, sink and storage cabinets. Vallabhaneni said she planned to use the kitchenette and was hoping to start by baking a cake with Sanders.

The new tower also has fewer washers and dryers than the West Tower. The renovated tower now has eight washers and 10 dryers, while the West Tower had 10 washers and 12 dryers.

“When everyone is here, it's going to be almost impossible to find a good time to do laundry,” Vallabhaneni said.

Vallabhaneni said that in some cases, the new tower was an improvement over the old, but she was disappointed to find that the rooms were exactly the same. She said she thought the rooms would have built-in closet space rather than wardrobes.

“Even my dad, when he came in, he was like, ‘I don't really see any changes,’” Vallabhaneni said. “Other than that, I guess, the kitchenette is nice because you can make food right there instead of everyone on one tower using one kitchen, and then, obviously the bathrooms are not moldy anymore, which is a great improvement.”

This story will be updated.

Editor's note: The reporter assigned to this story is a resident and was involved in the Forest Quadrangle move.

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