Some buildings are so old that things are breaking frequently.
Broken hot water pipes in Cumberland flooded several floors. This happened two times in one year at Cumberland leaving belongings destroyed, stairwells flooded, and even electrical cords and appliances were affected. This creates numerous safety issues, one being potential electrocution if you touch a wet electrical appliance after a flood.
Frequent mold causes students respiratory issues. This can be very problematic for students who may be immunocompromised or who may contract another illness while on campus. Unfortunately this was the case for freshman Olivia Paregol who passed away in 2018 during an adenovirus outbreak. Olivia had Crohn’s disease so she already had a weakened immune system. On top of that there was mold in her room which her family claims the University knew about and did nothing to fix. She began experiencing respiratory problems along with her roommate. At the time there was an outbreak of adenovirus on the campus and Olivia contracted that and due to her weakened immune system from the mold and her condition she was unable to fight off the adenovirus. Currently frequent mold testing is not required by law and there is no university rule about it.
Windows are so old in Cumberland that they have to be replaced this summer resulting in A/C units being removed from the building. You might not think this causes a threat to one’s safety but it actually does. Jules Einhorn is a sophomore currently living in Cumberland who told a UMD news article that if they made this change with the windows and A/C this year it would be unsafe for him to live there due to his asthma. There are currently 8 residence halls that do not have A/C which presents safety concerns in hot conditions for those with respiratory issues.
With mold being such a common problem on the UMD campus, it’s only necessary that the maintenance of every dorm building is a top priority and kept up with.
Even after the death of student Olivia Paregol in 2018 due to an adenovirus outbreak caused by mold, frequent mold testing and inspection is not currently required by law nor is there a university law about it.
While UMD currently has a 24 hour service center where students can report any maintenance or repair issue, a lot of the time mold in room can go unrecognized for a long time. This can lead to health issues for all students ranging from mild to severe, and worsesning the symptoms of those with compromised immune systems, putting them at high risk.
According to Michael Rubino, an air quality expert, the best way to determine mold if mold is present in a room is with a professional mold inspections. These inspections have the potential to not only
As students who have or still do live in campus affiliated housing,
During the summer months, students living in residence halls cook with no A/C. The most straight-forward solution is installing AC units in all of the dorms.
As mentioned earlier, however, UMD is going in reverse; removing A/C units from some dorms
The cost of installing AC units into one of the eight dorms that do not currently have A/C would be about $90,000, according to local rates for AC installations
However, even in dorms that have A/C, A/C outages can happen relatively frequently on campus. The university is in the process of amending this by trying to generate energy on campus, trying to rely less on power companies that could have outages out of the control of the University. The UMD NextGen Energy Program plans to be in effect by 2025, and also plans to help decarbonize campus energy.
By now, it’s no secret that UMD’s old buildings are crumbling and students are suffering as a result.
When living in communal spaces like dorm buildings, it’s important to keep shared appliances and equipment running efficiently and cleanly, instead of creating more issues and affecting large groups of people all at once
The current housing system does give students the option of submitting urgent requests to repair or report a facilities issue – however this approach is reactive towards many of the issues that old buildings come with
Instead of facing problems as they come, UMD can work towards a more proactive approach and refurbish old buildings with new appliances and equipment
By doing this, the influx of urgent requests could lessen, allowing maintenance services more time to attend to service requests and giving students the peace of mind that they won’t be showering in ankle-deep water
“New construction offers considerable freedom and value, but renovation can deliver meaningful results with cost and schedule efficiencies”
According to Clark Nexsen, an integrated architecture and engineering firm, the cost of a comprehensive renovation is generally 70 to 75% the cost of new construction (assuming the building structure is sound)
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