The beginning of the spring semester at the University of Rhode Island also marked the opening of its newest residence hall: Brookside Hall. However, it hasn’t all been easy for Brookside since its opening in January.
As the apartment-style hall accommodates residents for the first time, the building has faced some growing pains.
“Anytime you open a brand-new residence hall, and we’ve done that a few times, there are little hiccups that come up that you didn’t anticipate,” Housing and Residential Life (HRL) Assistant Director of Assignments and Occupancy Management Dan Taylor said.
Perhaps the largest issue Brookside residents are facing involves their showers. In an email sent to all Brookside residents on Jan. 19, URI’s HRL stated that they had been made aware that “there may be a problem” with the compressible foam strips installed in each shower. The strips were installed to prevent water flowing from the shower to the bathroom floor. Taylor said that he has been made aware of the issue and that it is being fixed.
“[The contractors who built the building] have gone back and put down compressible dams,” he said.
An additional issue that’s popped up for HRL is the question of what to do with the new sophomore and upperclassmen dorms that have been vacated by residents moving to Brookside. This problem, however, isn’t unusual for HRL, who is viewing these open rooms as a major opportunity to help move students who requested changes.
“We still have students who’ve requested room changes in December that we haven’t been able to fulfill because the Brookside residents were actually occupying two spaces at once, so there were about 400 people occupying their old room until they could move to their new room,” Taylor said.
One other major issue facing Brookside right now is the opening of its Brookside Bistro.
URI’s HRL webpage describes the Bistro as “a place where students can grab a quick bite and dash off to class, study or hang out with friends, or move outside to the brick patio and landscaped seating areas along the restored brook.” Because of the Bistro and its status as the newest residential building, Brookside costs more than other apartment-style dorms such as Garrahy Hall and Wiley Hall.
Unusually, the Bistro did not open with the rest of the building. It wasn’t until Feb. 1, a few weeks after move-in, that the Bistro was scheduled to open its doors. It did not open on that date either, and still remains closed.
Despite these growing pains, current residents have an overwhelmingly positive opinion of their new residential building.
“There have been a few issues but that’s kind of expected of a new dorm,” junior Mikayla Bello said. “But everything got solved so quickly.”
When asked what the biggest surprise she’s experienced since moving in was, junior Paige Bridgewater said, “How nice it is. It’s like a little hotel.”
Due to the high demand for residence in Brookside, including students who requested to move into Garrahy or Wiley Hall when there wasn’t enough space, Taylor said he “[doesn’t] foresee [HRL] offering [it] up to first-year students.”
Brookside’s official grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Feb. 10 at 11 a.m., followed by student-led tours of the building and a brief reception.
This story was released in the February 6 edition of the Good Five Cent Cigar. It was the first story I did as a staff reporter, which is a paid position requiring at least two pieces per edition.