Simpson Residence Hall will undergo interior renovations after current residents move out in May, according to Kana Henning, associate vice president for facilities at Loyola.
The $8.875 million project will include updated bathrooms, floor replacements of residential rooms, replacements of the front unit doors of each of the rooms, heating and air conditioning replacement work, electrical work of exit signs and smoke detectors, a “refresh” of the lobby and a new paint job.
Henning said the 24-year-old building hasn’t undergone any upgrading or renovating since it opened in 1991 and has begun showing signs of “wear and tear.”
One of Simpson’s major problems has been with plumbing. Several first-year students approached by The Phoenix said they had experienced clogged shower drains.
First-year biology major Ruby Garcia said her and her suitemates’ toilet has always leaked and has worsened since the second semester. While maintenance comes in to clean every few days, it comes back days later, according to Garcia.
“Right after they clean it, for a couple days it’s usually good,” Garcia said. “If it hasn’t been cleaned in a while, you really see the puddle everywhere.”
According to Henning, this was the perfect time to not only demolish the restrooms of the buildings, but also upgrade the finishes. She said the renovations to the restrooms would make them “look nicer” and “appeal to our students.”
The project is set to start May 14 and end Aug. 10.
Renovations do not include any additions to the number of dorm rooms, despite Loyola accepting the largest freshman classes ever the last two years, causing the university to convert double bedrooms to triples and to tell a large portion of upperclassmen there’s not enough room for them to live on campus.
Currently, Simpson houses about 400 students, according to Loyola’s housing site.
Despite the more modern look, room rates will not increase for next year’s residents as the rates had already been approved by the board of trustees, according to Henning.
Residents in Simpson currently pay just over $10,000 per year for a single room and just under $9,000 for a double or triple room.
While many students enjoyed Simpson’s friendly atmosphere, some said they feel embarrassment and frustration toward its physical appearance and structure.
Simpson resident and first-year Langston Beamer said, while Simpson is “old” and “many things break,” the hall lost even more value when it changed the dining hall menu to cater to students’ dietary restrictions.
“Simpson Dining Hall is not good anymore,” Beamer said. “So no one goes there anymore. So I lost a lot of community time.”
Aramark, Loyola’s food provider, didn’t respond to The Phoenix’s request for comment at the time of publication.
First-year Isabella Pastika said she’s not happy because she feels like her dorm is falling apart. Pastika said her shower door hinges fell off weeks ago, despite putting in several requests to get them fixed.
“So it’s just a little bit embarrassing,” Pastika said in regards to knowing someone could walk in. “But other than that, I love the people here. They’re very friendly. But the maintenance part bugs me.”
Henning said the university allocates money to upgrade and maintain its residence halls every year.
“This is definitely one of the more larger scale renovations that we’ve seen of a residence hall within the past couple years,” Henning said. “But, within our overall inventory of residence halls and the capital dollars that we allocate to upgrading and maintaining our residence halls, that’s an ongoing process that we do every year.”