Some Blanco and San Saba Hall residents are saying they have paid the price for living next to a construction site and are asking for part of their money back as a result.
Domonique Gray-Berroa, president of the Blanco Hall and San Saba Hall Council, said residents have come to him throughout the year with issues resulting from construction. Gray-Berroa, political science freshman and member of Associated Student Government Freshman Council, authored a proposal in support of thereimbursing money to students affected by construction.
The proposal requests “the residents of Blanco Hall and Saba Hall are reimbursed 20 percent of money paid to the Department of Housing and Residential Life for housing for the semesters in which they resided, including the spring 2013 semester if applicable.”
Gray-Berroa is circulating a petition “in support of” the proposal.
“The petition is saying ‘I am a resident of Blanco or San Saba Hall, and I am also a member of Texas State, and I do agree that Blanco and San Saba Halls should receive some form of compensation,’” Gray-Berroa said.
Residents’ complaints range from power outages to disrupted sleep to low water pressure in the dorms. Kristi Belcher, computer science freshman and Blanco Hall resident, said she signed Gray-Berroa’s petition. Belcher said she is often woken up at 7:30 a.m. because construction workers are jackhammering outside. There is dust in the air and power outages because of construction, she said.
“We are paying thousands of dollars just to live there,” Belcher said. “We should get functional power and electricity.”
She wrote a letter to University Presidentcomplaining “the focus is on future students and not current students.”
“Everything about the construction is detracting from our experience at Texas State,” Belcher said.
Gray-Berroa said the petition had about 200 signatures before the Freshman Council approved the proposal on Jan. 31. He does not have a goal number of signatures for the petition. It is now up to the senate to approve the proposal before it is forwarded to the administration.
Belcher said she would be happy if she were reimbursed, but fixing individual issues such as dust, water pressure and power outages would be helpful.
Gray-Berroa said residents were not aware of the construction of the West Campus Housing Complex on the east side of Blanco Hall when the year started. Their situation took a turn for the worse once the building projects picked up speed.
“The cranes started coming, and your parking is shut off,” Gray-Berroa said. “Then they dig up the front so you have to go all the way around (the dorm) to get to the entrance. Then they are digging in the front by your window.”
“We basically walked through what was going to happen and what the general work hours would be,” Proite said.
The Department of Housing and Residential Life notified students of disturbances at “the last minute,” Gray-Berroa said. Those notifications usually occurred only by hanging signs saying air conditioning or water, for example, would be shut off.
Proite said she told students they would be given 48 hours notice if there was going to be work done in the evening or middle of the night. She said the department is going to begin putting information about construction in the description of dorms on its websites. Providing an 18-month project schedule will help new students know what to expect in terms of living in a dorm near construction, she said.
Proite said she does not think reimbursing Blanco and San Saba Hall residents is an appropriate solution. She said the department “simply does not have that money.” However, Proite said she knows students are enduring noise and inconveniences because of the construction.
Construction should be happening between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., but Proite said it has come to her attention this has not been the case all the time. Proite said she hadn’t heard from the students this was happening, so communication between residents and the department needs to be addressed.
Proite said she wants students to communicate with the department if they have any concerns or complaints.
“Construction is no pain, no gain, but we want to minimize the inconveniences as much as we can,” Proite said.