By Stina Chang
Since the Middle Earth Expansion construction project began in June 2017, some new Middle Earth housing residents for the 2017-2018 academic year have received construction survival kits and electric fans for their rooms.
According to Sharon Spead, director of Middle Earth Student Housing, seven halls in Middle Earth received fans in their dorm rooms, including Mirkwood, Lorien, Hobbiton, Misty Mountain, Isengard, Harrowdale and Whispering Wood. Those seven halls were also given a “construction survival kit,” which included earphones, ear plugs, eye mask and a dust cloth.
In addition, the dust cloth and ear plugs are available to all residents of Middle Earth at the Middle Earth Housing Office front desk.
The goal of giving out these extra appliances for free is “to try to provide resident comfort if they can’t keep their windows open,” said Melissa Falkenstien, director of capital planning and asset management.
Some Harrowdale residents think it was a nice addition to their rooms since they have to live with the inconvenience of the construction nearby. “I appreciate the fan although I brought a fan so now I just have an extra fan,” Harrowdale resident Sarah Bell said.
Brian Liu, who lives in the same hall as Bell, added that he was surprised when he saw the extra appliance in his room on move-in day. He had his parents take his fan that he brought to the dorm back home.
However, other residents who don’t live as close to the construction also felt inconvenienced. Reja’h Bordenave, who lives in Balin, said, “I think it affected [me] to the point where it takes longer to get to class and when it comes to transporting to class, the way to get there is a longer process rather than if the construction wasn’t there.”
Bordenave added that she felt it was unfair that her hall was not provided with the same benefit.
“I felt like it’s not fair especially if other people have gotten [the fans] but Balin hasn’t gotten it,” she said. “I feel like it would be helpful, being that we do have to deal with construction there and that it’s sort of a necessity.”
Resident Elizabeth Resendiz, who lives in Calmindon, added, “I wish they would have completed [construction] sooner so we could take advantage of the new buildings.”
Resendiz also felt it was unfair that she was not provided with the same benefits as other halls. “We’re paying the same amount but we’re not getting the same things in return,” she said.
However, there are some residents who are not as bothered by the construction. Residents Kayla Yee and Teresa Moua in Valimor said that they hardly ever hear the construction going on during the day.
“We’re farther away [from the construction],” said Yee. Moua added, “It doesn’t bother me, it only bothers me on my way to class.”
Both Yee and Moua also said they are not heavily affected by the fact they didn’t receive the same fans as other halls.
“I don’t mind. If we can’t even hear the construction, it’s probably not that bad,” Yee said.
UCI Hospitality and Dining announced back in May 2017 that they closed Brandywine Commons and Recreation Center for reconstruction. They began work in June 2017 and are expected to be finished and in use by fall 2019.