There have been rumors around potential construction and remodeling of Legacy Residence Hall to fix problems students have been seeing such as mold, mice and poor conditions, according to several students.
The rumors around the construction are not true, at least for right now, according to Aaron Lucier, director of housing operations for East Carolina University.
“There (are) bits and pieces, there is a project that we are working and moving forward to for not this summer but next summer, which is what I call a project that will help student life but doesn’t seem very exciting to students necessarily,” Lucier said. “We’re gonna be doing an upgrade to the buildings air quality, mainly improve the conditioned air and the core of the building.”
Lucier said the humidity that comes along with eastern North Carolina can make the air systems in Legacy and other halls not function accordingly. The goal is to eliminate humidity in the core of the building and create better air quality for the halls.
Isabelle Park, a freshman psychology major, has lived in Legacy since the beginning of the fall semester and had issues with the cleanliness and upkeep of the building, including reported mice and mold sightings.
“We have mice on the first floor and stuff, some people had to move out actually ‘cause of that. There’s mold everywhere on our desks, like underneath it. I think one of my friends actually got sick cause of it, so yeah that was fun,” Park said.
Park also has issues with there being no elevator, and said with her living on the fourth floor it is especially hard and does not become easier when she is sick and has to climb all the stairs.
Park said with time she got used to these issues, and has noticed some benefits that come along with living in Legacy, such as the study rooms and the location of being right next to the Galley where there are numerous dining options.
The main changes Park said she hopes to see for Legacy’s future would be fixing the bathroom situation. According to Park, while the showers are spacious, the temperature when showering fluctuates leaving her in a freezing cold shower.
“Bathrooms. I definitely hope that they change that. I like the size of the showers and stuff, but it’s just really hard during the summer, it was like really really cold and there was like no heat at all so either way you had to take a cold shower, it’s okay during the winter now sometimes it gets really really hot,” Park said.
The urinals remaining in the girls bathroom is also a bit awkward for Park, and she hopes they could be taken out in future bathroom renovations to make the girls bathroom feel more like a girls bathroom.
There is expected talk about future renovations though, specifically the bathrooms of not just Legacy Hall but also Jones Residence Hall, according to Lucier.
“There is nothing, there is no firm timeline for that project, but it's certainly on our future wish list is a bathroom renovation for the upper three floors of Jones and a bathroom renovation for all four floors of Legacy,” Lucier said.
Lucier says the bathroom renovations would require a lot of planning, plus time and money and is on the radar, but cannot yet be scheduled.
Lucier said it is apparent from building assessments and other data outlet changes need to be made. He said there doesn’t seem to be any structural changes needed, but there have been several small incremental changes over the past few years.
“We’ve done incremental things over the years, you know we’ve added air conditioning, we’ve added the sprinkler system in the building, we’ve certainly maintained the carpeting in there,” Lucier said. “So, the things that we can do relatively small, well not relatively small, but relatively manageable at this point.”
Jobs that can be done during the summer months, in three month periods, are more desirable, according to Lucier, because it means no beds will be taken “offline.”
In the words of Lucier, “offline” means the building is not being used for its purpose. For example, Greene Hall is currently offline, because it is not being fully staffed and operational for potential guests and conferences meaning the building is “offline.”
Lucier said when beds are taken offline it increases the cost of the project planned because there is no revenue coming in during the months of the project, which drives up the total cost. Lucier said not taking numerous buildings “offline” at once is beneficial because it gives Lucier and others time to gain experience and lessons to take into the bettering of future projects.
Kiran Cornejo, a freshman nursing major moved into Legacy in August and immediately noticed her room was very hot for an unknown reason. Cornejo said she had to keep the air conditioning at 68 degrees blasting 24/7, otherwise she said her room would get “muggy, sticky and hot.”
Cornejo said she got tested at a doctor’s office and was told she has a mold allergy and can’t be around mold or else she will become congested and break out in hives.
“I was noticing that (congestion and breaking out in hives) was starting to happen. I noticed on random places like under my desk or under my plants or notebooks, there was mold starting to grow, so I reported it and it even got so bad to the point where nobody was doing anything about it and I almost had to move out.”
Cornejo said she does not currently have a roommate and she had to clean the spare desk in her room that was covered in mold herself several times. She says that ECU did come clean the areas for her once but that cleaning the desks is still a process she continues to have to do.
“It took them like two weeks, but eventually I got a dehumidifier and then they came to clean the mold but you can’t really do much, ‘cause it kinda grows back still. Even though I have the dehumidifier, it still is prominent,” Cornejo said.
Cornejo said she has been sick “three to four times” since August. Cornejo said she has just gotten over a sinus infection, which she believed was related to the air in Legacy.
Cornejo compares the air system in Legacy to jello, saying the muggy air is felt all around her as she walks through the hallways. She contributes the reason for mold she’s seen in other places, particularly the bathroom, to poor circulation.
In response to mold allegations from students such as Park and Cornejo, Lucier says mold is common in eastern North Carolina and the air renovations planned for Legacy in the summer of 2020 will help alleviate some of the issues.
“Fletcher will get it (air renovations) this summer, that was scheduled and been worked on for a while, and then we were targeting to do that in Legacy and Jones and like I said it will improve the air quality in the building during the summer but also year around,” Lucier said.