Safety hazards and unappealing characteristics propel Keene State College students to have mixed feelings about older dorms such as Randall, Monadnock and Owl’s Nests.
Senior Jake Cheverie, who he lived in Holloway his first year at KSC, said he doesn’t think any of the older buildings need to be refurbished or torn down.
“They all seem fine” Cheverie said.
Cheverie said he hasn’t experienced any problems with housing on campus.
First-year Emily Parker said they should get rid of some buildings “like Monadnock and Randall.”
She said, “I think they’re all gross over there. They’re just really old and Monadnock is pretty small and I feel like it’s pretty crowded in there.”
Sophomore Colin Acker said he lived at Randall his first year at KSC.
“Randall was…rowdy and dirty often,” Acker said.
Acker said he now lives in Fiske and, while he enjoys it, he does notice that neither Fiske nor Randall have means for individuals with disabilities to get up to every floor.
“Randall has four floors and there’s no elevator, but Fiske does have the ramp to get up to the first floor,” Acker said.
Acker said that he doesn’t think Randall should be torn down, but that there are other dorms he wouldn’t mind seeing go.
“Maybe Owl’s Nests could go because they’re pretty old and I’ve heard some pretty nasty things about their water or the heating,” Acker said.
Sophomore Alyssa Manfro said that, while she’s never lived in one of the Owl’s Nests or Randall, she’s heard characteristics that would make her apprehensive to live there. “[I’ve heard] things are falling apart, or there aren’t enough outlets. I’ve heard the bathrooms are just awful and cheap [in Randall],” Manfro said.
Manfro said everyone should have the same opportunity for living arrangements and that one building shouldn’t trump another.
“I think [the school] has enough room to knock them down and use the newer buildings,” Manfro said.
Associate Dean of Student and Director of Residential Life Kent Drake-Deese said that as of now the school has no specific plans to tear down any buildings.
“It’s actually pretty expensive to tear down a building of that size, upward of a million dollars for a building like Randall. We’re not a in a position to spend that,” Drake-Deese said.
Drake-Deese also said that there probably won’t be a move to make older buildings handicap accessible and because they’re older, it’s not required for them to be.
“It’s more than just the access, to make a building like Randall [handicap accessible]….the hallways have to be wider, the rooms have to be bigger, the doorways have to be wider. To make a building accessible, not that it can’t be done, but you know we’re talking tens of millions of dollars,” Drake-Deese said.
Drake-Deese said other efforts to accommodate students are being made
“Having the upper class selection like we did in the fall that was a new thing that we hadn’t done before and that was an attempt on our part to address the anxiety about upper classroom to find out where they’re living on campus,” Drake Deese said. “We understand that kind of pressure.”
Drake-Deese said they also tried squatting this year, meaning that students could stay where they were if they enjoyed that living environment. In addition, Drake-Deese said that if there were buildings that had to go, it would most likely be Monadnock and Randall.
“It’s a lot of people crossing the street. Students aren’t always as responsible as they maybe should be crossing the street,” Drake-Deese said.
Drake-Deese said there have been complaints from Keene residents about students being reckless crossing the street and he said having the dorms all on one island of space could help with relations between residents and students and make the environment safer for students as well.
“I mean we have had students hit [no one died]. I’m not saying it happens every week or anything,” Drake-Deese said, “And obviously for the people who hit them that’s a lasting image; that’s pretty traumatic.
Drake-Deese said there are also noise complaints from surrounding houses near Randall and Monadnock.
Drake-Deese said however that there is no immediate act to get rid of the buildings. “There’s a budget process; you have to do a lot of projection,” Drake-Deese said.
Drake-Deese said that the purpose of residential living is to encourage students to communicate with each other and stand up for themselves. “We’re not a hotel and residential living is a real thing; you get experience dealing with these issues and part of the reason why that’s important is that it’s good practice for when you get a job and you have to work with somebody all day long and there’s conflict there, you actually have experience [to deal with it],” Drake-Deese said.
Senior Chelsea Saber said that dorms are also the place where students spend the majority of their time and it matters considerably how they appear.
“I mean that’s their home when they’re not home,” Saber said.
Senior Courtney Lawn said the dorms that a college offers can be a huge deciding factor and that the ones here seem really nice.
“I wish I had seen the dorms at my old school because they were really awful,” Lawn said. “If you see where you’re living, it helps you.”
Drake-Deese said the school has received great feedback on KSC’s living environment based on Educational Benchmarking Institute surveys filled out by students.
“So they ask these questions and they’re all about student satisfaction and they’re a national survey. They all ask the same questions [for every school],” Drake-Deese said.
Drake-Deese said the answers to these questions are compiled and then can be looked at comparatively between schools. Drake-Deese said that compared to other schools in the area, Keene State typically ranks first for many categories.
“First of all we have one of the highest return rates in terms of getting these surveys in; [and then] we always rank very very highly,” Drake-Deese said.
Drake-Deese said that while someone might say that students don’t always answer truthfully, that can happen anywhere so really it doesn’t affect the results
“Our students, despite how easy it is to complain or moan about stuff, our students report being satisfied with housing, particularly with the RA staff,” Drake-Deese said. “It provides some insulation…it’s hard data directly from students.”
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