Meadows North renovations cause conflict


Gracie Terrall, News Editor (She/Her)

Missing furniture, broken lights and high humidity levels: these are just some of the problems Meadows North residents faced when moving into their apartments in the midst of a multi-million dollar construction project.

In 1994, the apartment-style residence halls Meadows North and Meadows South were built. Now, 25 years later, they are ready for a remodel, with Meadows North being renovated first.

According to Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Douglas Wermedal, the project on Meadows North will cost around $3.7 million and was intended to address some of the outdated issues.

“It’s a very extensive project, which includes a complete exterior removal and replacement, a new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system to include air conditioning and ventilation improvements into each apartment, new toilets, new flooring throughout, new ceiling tiles and a new boiler system,” Wermedal said.

The university is taking a phased approach to renovating both buildings in an attempt to keep the cost low, so students don’t have to pay more for housing per semester. Because of this, construction will take longer and run into the start of the semester.

Wermedal confirmed that the updates to the interior were supposed to be completed prior to students’ arrival. However, when residents arrived back on campus, the renovations brought on additional issues.

“The hall light didn’t work … we have no vents in the bathroom … we’re pretty sure there is mold up in the ceiling there … we didn’t have a couch for awhile … and they didn’t give us a shower curtain rod either,” first floor resident Katelyn Busch said.

These are just a few of the concerns students had after moving in.   

Matt Gaub, a resident of Meadows North, has dealt with heating and ventilation issues since the beginning of the semester.

“We set our room to 68, and it has been sitting at 75 since we got here,” Gaub said. “In the bathroom area, when that door is closed, there is zero air movement… Our apartment has been really humid too.”

Emma Erdmann, a second floor resident, also noticed the influx in heat and humidity.

“It was so humid in here that I would wake up in puddles of sweat in my bed,” she said. “I went and spent $80 on a dehumidifier.”

Erdmann was not aware at the time that the university was providing students with dehumidifiers upon request; however, receiving the machine may have taken a few weeks. For Gaub, he put in his work order for a dehumidifier Aug. 25, and it took over two weeks for him to receive it.

Wermedal did add that, while many students might be experiencing extreme heat and ventilation issues, that does not necessarily mean it is a problem with the entire building.

“There are different comfort levels for some. There are some who think 75 would be a dream and some who think that is too warm,” he said. “It’s a subjective thing from student-to-student.”

Wermedal confirmed that Meadows North currently has 14 dehumidifiers checked out amongst the 41 apartments– this is over a third of the units in the building.

Even with the dehumidifiers, in Gaub’s apartment, the humidity was still extreme, and the temperature reached 76 to 78 degrees.

Students reported that furniture was missing from their rooms when they moved in.

According to the Meadows housing information page on the SDSU website, each unit has a “twin-sized bed, desk, chair and chest of drawers in each bedroom, limited living room furniture and refrigerator, range [stove] and dishwasher.”

Within the list of issues that Busch stated, a missing couch was among them. As for Alex Louwagie, another first floor resident, the lack of furniture is affecting his online learning.

“Three of us don’t have desks in our rooms,” Louwagie said. “We put in a work order the first week … we have to do our homework on our beds or the couch.”

As of Sept. 18, Louwagie and his two roommates had not yet received desks in their rooms.

According to Wermedal, students may request to have furniture removed from their apartments if they wish to bring their own in.

“There might have been a disconnect over an apartment that said they don’t want furniture and another that said we do want furniture,” Wermedal said.

The interior work was scheduled to be fully completed before any students arrived Aug. 10, and the external renovations are scheduled for completion by mid-October. Although internal improvements have been made, last minute finishes to the HVAC system will occur after the external renovations. Wermedal expects these changes to hopefully solve some of the issues students are facing.

Wermedal urges students to contact him directly at his email ([email protected]) or office phone (605-688-4496) with any issues.

“If any student in a residential facility has a concern, file the work order, but if there is a problem past 48 hours, let me know,” Wermedal said. “We want to give students the best experience we can with the staffing and resources that we have.”