Co-ops request building repairs
Dissatisfaction in OSCA has surged recently, threatening longstanding cooperation between OSCA and Reslife. OSCA residents and coops complain of chronic problems and a lack of willingness to repair buildings and kitchens, as promised and necessitated by their contract.
The problem has taken on added significance due to the recent rent increases proposed by Reslife.
This year in Tank, junior Andrew Burke’s roof leaked so much that his bed and floor were soaked and he couldn’t sleep in his room. He said that despite calling in the problem, when maintenance finally responded the problem was barely fixed.
The toilets are regularly broken in most coops, and maintenance has reportedly stopped trying to fix certain toilets in Keep and Tank.
Three coop kitchens have now been shut down by the state for things like leaks from bathrooms into the kitchen, including one in Tank that was fixed involving sewage, and those kitchens await repair money.
The Harkness kitchen, one of the only coop kitchens not shut down this year for sewage leaks and other structural problems, has two broken ovens that do not get above 300 degrees; ovens of this type normally surpass 500 degrees.
“A lag in maintenance does occur from time to time,” he said. “But the budget of the Facilities Department is stretched like all budgets.”
Lafond pointed out that Reslife has fixed the Fairchild kitchens as well as two toilets in Harkness and is working to bring the other co-ops up to standards.
Erica Tempesta , one of OSCA’s operations managers, has a different view of the problems. While she believes ResLife, and the Assistant Director of Facilities, Keith Watkins, have done many repairs “promptly and thoroughly,” she also says that many problems have not been repaired for some time. She includes the Harkness stoves in this category.
She expressed frustration that ResLife documents these problems during the year and them fixes over the summer.
The new OSCA contract may change the situation for the co-op kitchens.
“The contract does note that the College will renovate an OSCA kitchen up to $200,000 within the next three years,” LaFond said.
Several co-opers noted that these repairs should not even be necessary as the co-ops are entitled to repairs as needed, and three kitchens still desperately need repair.
“I think that the guarantee is a cop out in some ways,” Tempesta said. “One of our kitchens is sure to have a problem before the end of three years, at which point the College would have had to renovate. [Under the new arrangement] it only seems like we are getting something out of the deal.”