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Once again, campus upgrades fall short of expectations

Over the summer, Brandeis’ campus was filled with construction crews renovating and updating many different buildings. Some updates were long overdue, such as the relocation of arts facilities from Prospect Street to the Epstein building on campus. The Prospect Street studios were dusty, run-down and over a mile from campus. Two years ago, The Brandeis Hoot reported on these conditions and for two years, students and professors in the Fine Arts department have worked to see improved conditions. Though it took too long for university to act on this issue, The Hoot is happy to see the Fine Arts department receive the space they need to flourish.

Other major renovations included those still ongoing in North Quad. The amount of work that was incomplete when first-years arrived on move-in day and is still incomplete now is unacceptable. It is apparent that crews were working very hard to finish as much work as possible before the semester began. However, not only did they not complete all the necessary work, but much of the work was shotty and there are many small issues in North Quad. A handicapped bathroom stall is missing its door on Cable 1. The balcony on Reitman two is incomplete, and residents had been using the balcony for days before someone put up a sign warning students not to visit the balcony for safety reasons. Construction is still very much ongoing. Crews must sometimes close one of the bathrooms to work. This is an inconvenience that could have been avoided if work was complete before move-in day.

The Hoot is also concerned about the status of one of Brandeis’ most iconic buildings, the Usen Castle. We hope the university is thorough in their examinations of the castle, as there are students living in a building with questions circulating regarding its structural integrity. Last year, several students were forced to move out of the Castle due to issue such as roofs caving in. The Hoot supports the committee formed to address the castle’s future. We hope this committee will be transparent with their findings. In the future, we would also like to hear the university’s plans regarding the future of sophomore housing if more and more of the castle becomes unusable as a sophomore residence hall.

In terms of the renovations to Sherman Dining Hall, The Hoot does not feel the renovations have improved the dining experience. The space echoes and is, as a result, very loud. Furthermore, according to Vice President of Operations Jim Gray’s email to the Brandeis community, construction on the upper level of Sherman is incomplete and will not be finished until October, when it is already beginning to get cold. Due to this, the outdoor rooftop space will not be usable until the spring. The Hoot also does not support the use of university funds for an outdoor eating space that will be unusable except for a few months a year.

Year after year, the university promises monumental renovations, in particular to our dining services, and every year the student body is left disappointed and having to fight to make their voices heard. We at The Hoot do not enjoy complaining about campus facilities, and understand that for the most part, Brandeis is privileged to have a functional campus to learn on. However, with renovations like those to Sherman being used to justify raises in the tuition that we pay, we have to demand higher standards from the university’s upgrades.

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