Spicing up residence life


by Peter Kaspari/Staff Writer

The residents of Buxton and Picken Residence Halls will soon be seeing some changes to their dorms with the improvements of the kitchen facilities in both buildings.

In Buxton, the kitchen, located in the first-floor lounge, has undergone a complete transformation.

Although not functioning yet, the sink has been expanded, a stove and oven have been added, the countertops have been made bigger, and soon, new appliances will be purchased for the newly-renovated facilities.”We hope to use the kitchens for programming for CAs and for people to cook,” Chris de Kok, area coordinator for the second year area and theme houses, said.

Next door in Picken, their kitchen facilities have undergone a complete transformation. While Residence Life initially wanted to build the kitchen in the basement, fire code regulations prevented them from doing so. Not to be deterred, it was decided to put the kitchen in one of the lounges. Like Buxton, a sink and refrigerator will be installed. Countertops and tables have been installed and an extra wall has been put in.

Construction has been happening for the past several weeks and should be completed by spring break.

“I’m glad that it’s happening fast,” De Kok said. “Construction sometimes takes awhile, but this is coming along nicely.”

de Kok also said that Residence Life has worked very hard not to be disruptive towards the residents of Buxton and Picken.

“We worked with the company to do all construction during the day and when people are going to be awake,” de Kok said.

While it would have been preferable to have construction done when students weren’t living in the halls, de Kok said funding issues kept the project delayed.

“It took some time for funding to get approved,” de Kok said. “We ended up getting some extra funding.”

Currently, the construction appears to be mostly completed. All that remains is to buy the appliances and other furniture for the kitchens.”We’re trying to make the lounges more functional,” de Kok said.

The new kitchens are just one of the new projects that Residence Life is working on. Over the summer, three different projects will be happening in Buxton. These changes include putting in new, energy-efficient windows, new sprinklers for the fire suppression system and re-carpeting the rooms and hallways.

“They’ve been in our minds for a number of years,” Luke Behaunek, director of Residence Life, said. “This year we got our conversations started early, and the Board of Trustees approved the project in January. Everything should be completed by the time students return in the fall.”Behaunek said that while the Buxton renovations will be the biggest project for the summer, it’s possible there may be other small projects that will be completed.

“Depending on funds, we’d like to replace the carpeting and expand the kitchens for Barker and Kresge,” Behaunek said.

Renovations to the residence halls are decided upon based on a number of factors, according to Behaunek.

“One is student input off of our annual survey, and the professional staff input,” Behaunek said. “Our professional staff live and work in the buildings, so they know them well.”

Another deciding factor is the facilities three-year plan, which is created by the Physical Plant.

Behaunek said these items are mainly structural in nature and usually get worn out.

The kitchen projects are nearly completed, and Residence Life expects them to be in operation by spring break.