Renovations to Norris Hall complicate dorm life


Ohana Sarvotham

While the updates of Norris Hall are a welcome addition to the dorm, the disruption construction causes to daily life is not so welcome.

Ellianna Cierpiot, Staff Writer

When students from the Class of 2026 moved into Norris Hall (Norris), they were met with leaking showers, power losses and construction noise due to renovations that were started at the beginning of the summer.

Some of the rooms were not able to house students yet. Ryleigh Hayworth `25, a Community Advisor (CA) for Norris, said she was not able to move into the dorm at the beginning of her CA training.

“When we moved back for CA training, we had to stay in Windsor house for almost a week because the building wasn’t cleared for people to live in it yet,” Hayworth said.

Residents were informed that there would be construction happening in Norris prior to move-in, according to the head of Residence Life (Reslife) Dennis Perkins.

“I was aware there was going to be construction, before I moved in, and so I kind of put that into consideration when I was moving in,” said Kristen Bellinger `26, who lives on the fourth floor of Norris Hall. “There’s not going to be an elevator, so I have to take that into account when I’m thinking about what to bring.”

Like most other residence halls on campus, Norris lacks an elevator. The renovations are expected to be complete by November and would see the addition of an elevator, lounges on the second and fourth floors and improved bathrooms and rooms.

According to Perkins, there has been a ten-year construction plan in place to renovate some of the older residence halls, and it has been in effect since 2020.

“If you’ve been to a few campuses and you do Reslife work, you learn quickly and notice the residence halls,” Perkins said, “and I noticed that these residence halls weren’t in great shape.”

What was promising, Perkins said, was that the buildings generally did not require extensive repairs – they were just old.

“Norris is one of the first ones just because it’s an all-freshman building, it has AC already and so we thought we could convert it to a space where first-years could get a nice space,” Perkins said. “Usually, they’re not the ones who get the good spaces on campus.”

However, the process has not been without difficulties, several of which have fallen on the CAs to try to solve.

“There was one evening, about 10:00 p.m., and I had a resident knock on my door and say ‘hey, I just got out of the shower but the shower won’t turn off’,” Hayworth said. “So I put my shower shoes on and I went and tried to mess with it but I couldn’t get it to turn off. Hayworth said she had to call Campus Security, then the FM person on-call, to get the water shut off.

“I’m not sure that’s a hundred percent because of the construction, but all that stuff is new so it was, you know, a property-related thing that somebody who’s in another dorm probably wouldn’t have had to deal with,” Hayworth said.

When problems like this arise, CAs are supposed to contact FM or file a work order. However, some Norris CAs have had difficulties getting issues resolved because the construction makes the process more complicated.

“My very first work order I submitted, on maybe the second or third day that students had been moved in, someone had told me that some of their outlets weren’t working in their rooms and that was scattered throughout the hallway,” Hayworth said.

The work order that Hayworth submitted was rejected, however. “They said the construction people will deal with this, and I was like, ‘okay, I guess. Do the construction people know that they’re supposed to deal with this?’” said Hayworth.

“I don’t know what the process is for getting issues from the CAs to the construction people,” Hayworth added.

Perkins said that these issues are a result of certain maintenance areas being under contract with The Weitz Company, the construction company the College contracted for the renovation. With FM not having the authority or ability to do maintenance in those areas, delays in getting issues fixed have ensued.

“Whenever you have construction on a college campus, it means two things,” Perkins said. “One, it means that there will more than likely be noise. Things will be torn up. There will be disruptions… but the other side of that is that progress is being made. Things are being done to improve the living quarters, to improve living conditions that students have.”