Preventative measures taken to prevent further housing problems

By: Cheyanne Kramer

With pipe leaks and elevator malfunctions on the forefront of students’ concerns and plans circulating for a new dorm, students had many questions about the safety features and preventative steps taken to keep Oakland University dorms safe.

A few weeks ago, students on floor three and four in Oak View Hall were inconvenienced by a pipe leak, which backed over into two rooms and the Resident Director’s apartment.

“It takes a lot to plug a four-inch sewage line,” Director of University Housing James Zentmeyer said, “and there was a long delay in reporting the problem, so the problem stayed for a couple of hours untreated.”

On the Oak View elevator issue, Zentmeyer said that university housing is keeping the past history of the elevator in mind when the next opportunity comes for the university to renegotiate contracts.

Some issues have hid under the average student’s radar. When Oak View Hall was built, the design plans called for a metal connection in the shower drains, but plastic was used instead. When this was discovered, the Housing department brought the contractors back out and replaced all of the plastic connectors with metal ones, all without most students noticing the plastic ones in the first place.

“This was just one of the many preventative steps we take in Housing,” Zentmeyer said.

Another way that Housing steps up its game is through renovations. Just two summers ago, Hill and Van Wagner were renovated to include new furniture and upgraded bathrooms. This upcoming summer, Vandenberg Hall will receive similar renovations.

These renovations also include the ability for suite-by-suite heat control, which has been a point of much criticism from students across the hall.

“It may be a perfect temperature on the second floor one day, but someone on the fourth floor may be sweltering from the heat,” Zentmeyer said.

Not only the bathrooms and furniture will be renovated though. The entire electoral system will be updated, the draining system will be replaced, an emergency generator will be installed and a new sprinkler system will be added into the building.

With winter break coming, though, the only big thing that Zentmeyer is worried about is human error.

“If a student leaves a window open in the middle of December, when they come back in January the temperature could have dropped low enough in their room to cause a pipe burst or other property damage,” he said.

Zentmeyer also gave a brief update on the new dorm proposal.

“It will be on the south end of camps and have its own dining facility, that will be equipped to serve large numbers of residents and commuters alike,” he said, “And it will allow for more of the ‘slipper service’ idea.”

Zentmeyer explained that “slipper service” is when a student can take a nap, go to class and get a meal, all without going outside the building in which they live.

Despite the problems surrounding Oakland Housing currently and proposals, Zentmeyer said that these problems have had no effect on the high demand for housing next semester.