The hype and glamor of Eagle Landing is slowly dying as the first residents realize the reality.
From the highway, Eagle Landing looks like any college student’s dream: a gorgeous apartment building close to classes, parking, an ABC store and a grocery store. Residents can easily ride their bike across the bridge to get to campus or play a game of soccer on their very own turf field.
In reality, for almost $6,000 an academic year, students can expect extra parking costs, ridiculous fines for chipped paint, lukewarm shower water (assuming your shower even works), no bar stool seating, numerous fires, and an overall lack of communication and consistency.
Before move-in, students were shocked to find that an Eagle Landing parking pass would cost more than double what a normal residential parking pass costs. While students have an option to opt out of the Eagle Landing parking garage, this is not always an easy choice for students who have commitments to drive to early or late and are concerned with safety.
Upon move-in, students received mixed messages about everything from the banning of 3M hooks for hanging pictures to the allowance of automatic shut off toaster ovens and George Foreman grills.
The community assistants and other building staff had different answers when students asked about these items. Students were initially told that they could have toaster ovens, but then, only a week later during floor meetings, students were told the opposite. This decision was made because of the sensitive fire alarm system, but perhaps by fixing the system, daily appliances could be used.
While some miscommunication is understandable with a new staff and building, the list of problems continues to grow. Students were at first told to seal their own granite countertops to avoid staining and breaking, but then in an e-mail from Christine Porter, head of residence life, students were informed that the countertops are actually already sealed.
Many Eagle Landing residents have also been complaining about the showers. Many still do not have hot water, although according to Porter’s e-mail a solution has been found. Some handicapped apartments have drainage issues, and therefore do not have workable showers. These problems should have been addressed prior to move-in, not two weeks into classes.
On top of all the construction issues and rules, the residents have been treated like children who have misbehaved. During the hall meetings, the student building supervisors screamed at residents while waving bags of beer cans. Their message was meant to scare students into following the rules, but made residence life look rude and unwelcoming.
For the $2,800 a month an Eagle Landing apartment costs among four roommates, they could have rented their own house in downtown Fredericksburg, and avoided the entire headache of Eagle Village.
After building such an enormous and anticipated addition to UMW, the University and Foundation needs to make sure they are building a reputable standing for Eagle Landing and the university.
The University needs to look seriously at the way Eagle Landing is being run so that students will not regret their decision to live on campus and will not pass on these bad experiences to future residents.