Collapsed ceiling follows students to new dorm room

Amanda White sat at her desk amid notes, half-written papers and scraps of a cold dinner and felt like the sky was falling down on her. Only it wasn’t the sky – it was her ceiling – and this was not her first experience this year with collapsing ceilings.

Following winter break, White moved from her original room, 315, on the third floor of Norsworthy Hall where a section of her ceiling collapsed, to another room on the floor, 322, where a similar incident occurred on March 1.

“I think it is ridiculous that this happened again,” White, junior biology major, said.

According to White, she and a friend were conversing in the room that she shares with Mandy Falkenstein, junior biology major, when they heard a crashing sound and looked over to see a chunk of the ceiling on her roommate’s desk.

“We walked closer to the hole and noticed that it was wet and dripping brown water,” White said. “Also, a very strong, moldy smell was coming from it.”

White said Campus Police responded immediately to her call and were very helpful. They said their recommendation to the Office of Residence Life would be for an immediate room change, White said.

Julie Kirschner, Norsworthy Area Residence Director, was contacted after Campus Police arrived and informed White that she would have to speak with Barbara Nardone, Sophomore Year Experience area director.

White said Nardone acted very unprofessional and did not express concern over the situation. White demanded that she be accommodated, preferably in a room on the same floor. Since her original room had been repaired, she suggested that she be relocated there.

“It being midterms week, I said that an empty room with no computer or any of my other belongings would not be helpful,” White said.

According to White, Nardone responded with disgust at the request and said it would take time to find out if she could be placed back in her original room.

“She was extremely rude to me,” White said about Nardone.

In an e-mail, Nardone wrote, “In cases where a student is frustrated with a situation, I can understand how it may be frustrating for them to have to answer questions, but it needs to be done in order to do the appropriate follow up.”

White, who spent the night in a friend’s room, was not contacted by Residence Life until 4 p.m. the next day. Nardone granted White permission to move back to her original room. According to White, she has not heard from Residence Life since Building Services assisted with transferring her belongings.

Nardone wrote ,”In this case, as in most cases, the next day, I followed up with the appropriate professional staff first thing in the morning and the student by the afternoon when I had all the information. We look into specific requests the student(s) make and if possible will do what we can to work with them. In this particular case, we were able to accommodate Ms. White’s requests in less than 24 hours of the original complaint that I received.”

Joe Sullivan, director of Facilities, expressed concern over the situation and the inconvenience it caused White and Falkenstein.

“We felt so bad about it happening to them again,” Sullivan said.

Following the first ceiling collapse in White’s original room, Facilities inspected other rooms on the third floor of Norsworthy Hall to assess the situation and document any problems.

“We suspected if we had one problem there could be other similar ones on the floor,” Sullivan said.

According to Sullivan, in cooperation with Residence Life, the necessary repairs, which he referred to as “preventive maintenance,” were scheduled over Spring Break to avoid inconveniencing students. Unfortunately, the ceiling in Room 322 did not remain intact.

Sullivan said his office responded immediately to the reported collapse in 322 and attended to the repairs. Ceiling repairs in six additional rooms were completed over the break. With the exception of Room 322, which involved removing a larger section of the ceiling, all of the rooms were available to the occupants upon their return.

“We’re trying to keep an eye on (the situation),” Sullivan said. “We urge students to let us know if there are any problems.”

Sullivan, who said he recommended that more time and money be invested into the building, said there is planning and evaluation being done on Norsworthy Hall.

White questions the use of Norsworthy Hall, which is scheduled to house rising sophomores for the 2005-2006 academic year.

“The people who live here (next semester) are going to be unlucky just like we were,” she said.