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Saint Mary’s dorms undergo maintenance and renovation projects

| Friday, August 31, 2018

Over the summer, crews worked on maintenance and renovation projects to update the residence halls at Saint Mary’s.

Benjamin Bowman, facilities director at the College, said maintenance and building services workers were busy over the summer with several different projects.

“In Le Mans, we put carpeting in all the corridors from the second through fifth floors,” Bowman said.

Another change to Le Mans Hall occurred on the second floor. In one section on this floor, Bowman said wooden parts of walls were restored with the rest painted white. Additionally, the ceilings were painted a darker color with the intention of making the pipes appear less visible.

“What we need to do yet there is lower the lighting so it’s not highlighting the piping and put wall sconces outside each door,” Bowman said.

He said there are plans to complete this project in the near future.

While working on this section, Bowman said the renovation crew was surprised to find terrazzo, a material made of cement and chips of marble and similar minerals, underneath the carpet.

Not wanting to cover this again, Bowman said he and College President Jan Cervelli agreed to remove the carpet glue one area of the floor and leave the terrazzo exposed rather than cover it with carpet again.

“We decided to restore a section of it, and we used our own building services staff do to that,” he said.

All of the residence halls saw some form of update since touch-up painting was done in each of them, he said.

Holy Cross Hall received additional renovation in its basement in the form of flooring.

“We took the vinyl tile up,” Bowman said. “It was loose and coming up, chipping off, so we put a luxury vinyl tile down. It looks like wood.”

Bowman said a significant part of the maintenance done over the summer occurred as a result of a full inspection of every dorm room on campus. This led to the discovery of numerous necessary repair projects.

“We had 10 maintenance guys that took care of 1,100 items over the summer,” he said.

Items that needed repairs included light fixtures, door hardware and pieces of furniture, and Bowman said some window screens and mattresses were also replaced. After these findings, there are plans to continue the process of inspection next year.

Maintenance issues in the residence halls can concern students, as reports of brown water circulated around campus last week, but Bowman said occurrences like this are common due to the old pipes on campus.

“What happens is if a fire hydrant’s open or we get a big rush of water going to one location, it breaks loose iron buildup inside the pipes,” Bowman said.

In situations like this, he said maintenance crews will “flush the buildings” by running water in sinks and showers to make sure the strainers in faucets are functioning properly.

Another issue about which students have shown concern is a study showing that the shower curtains found on campus last year were made of PVC, a material known to transmit toxic chemicals. A report of these findings was made public last semester.

According to Bowman, all the PVC shower curtains were replaced over the summer.

Sophomore Brynne Volpe said she is relieved to know there are no longer carcinogens in the campus shower curtains.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” she said. “But there’s still that lingering question — why were they there in the first place?”

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