Hamilton Holmes Faces Maintenance Problems

Maintenance issues are putting Hamilton Holmes residents in a stinky situation.

After reports that the University’s newest freshmen residence hall Hamilton Holmes has been experiencing power outages and faulty toilets, Residence Life and Housing (ResLife) officials have confirmed that they are addressing the issues.

The central complications at Hamilton Holmes, which houses 125 freshmen, involve electrical problems “as a result of the circuits being overloaded,” ResLife Executive Director Andrea Trinklein said.

Students who live in the residence hall have substantiated this report, as several say that they have been experiencing a loss of power in areas of the building, mainly in restrooms.

Students have also made assertions of malodorous recycled toilet-water in restrooms, which has led to “really foul-smelling bathrooms,” according to one College freshman who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

While many students have taken to social media outlets to voice their complaints, sophomore and resident advisors have insisted that freshmen only speak to maintenance. On the Hamilton Holmes Facebook page, one sophomore advisor insisted that freshmen not comment to the Wheel on the matter.

In response to an onslaught of complaints, the Campus Services staff and New South, the construction company that built Hamilton Holmes, have both been inspecting the building in order to respond to these problems as they occur, Trinklein said.

“The other day, maintenance people came into the room across the hall to take a whole toilet from the wall, but the problems came back,” another College freshman said.

New buildings like Hamilton Holmes often experience unforeseen problems that can surface even when potential problems are checked after construction, according to Trinklein.

The Residence Hall Director Byron Liu (’12C) in collaboration with the Hamilton Holmes Hall Council Executive Board have also recently created an online survey in the Hamilton Holmes Facebook group.

The purpose of the survey is to ensure that New South can determine the sources and extent of these issues, according to the posting on the Facebook page.

The survey asks residents questions such as whether they have been experiencing electrical and plumbing issues in their rooms, as well as whether they have noticed other problems throughout the building.

Residents have not been shy voicing their discontent.

During the past two weeks, several students have made claims on various social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter about these maintenance and plumbing issues.

One student, for example, wrote on the Hamilton Holmes Facebook group page, “Everybody please go on my Facebook wall and share my post to Residence Life. They need to see that we can’t live with toilet/power problems anymore … Apparently fixing this is up to them, not our RAs or maintenance guys.”

Acknowledging these posts on social media sites, Trinklein said that  she encourages students to contact Campus Services directly so that University officials can respond in a more efficient manner.

“Campus Services and New South do not monitor the hashtags to look for possible concerns in any of our residence halls,” Trinklein said.

Freshman reactions to these issues have ranged from indifferent to “very annoyed,” according to one Hamilton Holmes resident.

“In terms of the restroom problem, it’s not that big of a deal to me; it’s just a little gross,” the student commented, adding, “I think people just make a big deal out of it.”

Another student agreed about what she felt to be the suboptimal condition of the restrooms and said  she thinks that the toilets “smell bad.”

“I paid so much to live here, and I think I have a right to complain about these problems,” another freshman said in an interview with the Wheel. “It’s not hugely affecting my life, but I do think the problems should be addressed already.”

However, on the other hand, some students who live in Hamilton-Holmes have said that they have not noticed anything out of the ordinary.

“I didn’t even know that we had maintenance problems,” one resident said.

Another resident remarked that he had only “found out people had problems by looking at Facebook.”

The maintenance and plumbing problems currently plaguing Hamilton Holmes Hall are similar to those that students living in Longstreet-Means Hall experienced when the hall first opened in 2010.

Residents at Longstreet-Means Hall faced similar issues with circuits that were unable to handle the large amount of incoming electricity.

— By Minah So