Sat. Jan 16th, 2021

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Flaws in Eagle Landing Cause Mixed Emotions

3 min read
Anne Elder/Bullet

Eagle Landing, the $60.5 million new apartment building, has gotten off to a rough start.

Now that all the students have moved in, residents are beginning to find many problems that went unnoticed during construction.

Chris Porter, director of residence life, describes this as fairly normal for new buildings.

“Any time you move into a new complex, there is a ‘shake down’ period where maintenance issues are discovered that were not found during building testing,” Porter said.

According to Porter, the biggest complaints she has received from students have been the temperature of the shower water not being hot enough and the “far too sensitive” fire alarm system.

Since the building opened, the fire alarm has gone off eight times, with the most recent yesterday at 3:15 p.m.  Each time the fire alarm goes off, all residents within the 156-bedroom apartment building are forced to evacuate.

“[The reason for the numerous fire alarms] is a sensitive fire alarm system that evacuates the entire building if a person creates too much smoke or steam while cooking,” Porter said.

Junior Eric Behringer experienced the fire alarm first hand.
“My suitemate set off the fire alarm,” Behringer said.  “The fire marshal came in and said it wouldn’t have gone off if it wasn’t designed incredibly poorly.  Apparently the exhaust in the microwaves comes out by the smoke alarm.”

When asked about the statement, Institutional Fire Safety Officer Robert Parker said that’s not something he would say.

“I feel that people should just learn to cook,” junior Kane Kashouty said.  “The fact that people have to open their windows and doors to cook is ridiculous.”

Sophomore Ellen Smethurst agreed.

“It’s been somewhat stressful cooking and having to worry about the amount of steam being put out,” Smethurst said.

Residents have also complained about the behavior of the building staff at the hall meetings at the beginning of the year, where the student building supervisors yelled at residents regarding rules and expectations in Eagle Landing.

“Opening meetings are intended to introduce staff to residents, lay out the expectations of the community and highlight community services,” Porter said in an e-mail to residents addressing the complaints.  “I apologize that the message did not come across as intended.”

“They basically just screamed at us,” Kashouty said.  “They yelled at the sophomores because they had been drinking and weren’t supposed to be there in the first place.  I’m sure sophomores were kind of upset.”

In the e-mail, Porter included, “All community members living in Eagle Landing have a right to be there and are welcomed.”

Senior Erin Burke had mixed feelings on the issue.

“Our room’s consensus is that we understand why the meetings were harsh, but [we] feel that they carried [the meetings] out in an immature and rude way,” Burke said.

However, students have also voiced their compliments about the apartment building.

Porter says the biggest compliment she has heard has been that people like only having two people to one bathroom and residents are enjoying the rotunda and the courtyard.

“It’s definitely a nice place to live,” Burke said.

“I love it so far,” Smethurst said.

She said that her favorite things about Eagle Landing are the trash chutes, a well-accommodated kitchen and air-conditioning.

“It definitely lived up to expectations,” sophomore Matt Willett said.

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