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VOLLMER RESIDENTS FACE HOUSING CHANGES FOR RENOVATIONS

 Ninety Wartburg first year students as well as those across all years have had the added stress of moving this month due to renovations in Vollmer Hall. 

ABBY DENAULT, TRUMPET STAFF WRITER

 Ninety Wartburg first year students as well as those across all years have had the added stress of moving this month due to renovations in Vollmer Hall. 

Cassie Hales, who has worked at Wartburg for 11 years and is director of Residential Life and chief student conduct officer, said the dorm, built nearly 70 years ago, is outdated. 

“My biggest highlights are that the building will be accessible and there will be added bedrooms with private bathrooms,” Hales said. 

Vollmer Hall renovations required consolidating some rooms and affected residents in other halls. Hales has said that over 90 students are being moved during the process, including Vollmer residents and those in the consolidation. 

A STUDY ROOM IN CLINTON CONVERTED TO A LIVING SPACE. PHOTO BY ABBY DENALUT.

One student affected was Kylea Neuendorf, a first-year accounting major, who moved from Clinton to a different room in Grossman.  

“They have filled, from what I understand, every empty room without interfering with people’s single room accommodations. And having to branch off into study rooms? It is pretty ridiculous that they have to do that, but then I don’t know where else they would put them. There are very few options here on campus, and I think they are trying their best with what they have,” Neuendorf said. 

Some students may have noticed the change over of study lounges, which have been converted to dorms. The change has happened on campus before during times of overflow, Hales said. 

“During my time here, we have done this two other years when enrollment numbers were up and we did not have enough bed space. The lounges are converted quite easily into bedrooms as maintenance has foam board that covers the windows and brings in extra furniture from storage. Lounges are much bigger than a typical four-person room, so they do provide quite a bit of space for students to live in,” Hales said. 

STUDENTS MOVING OUT OF VOLLMER HALL. PHOTO BY ABBY DENAULT.

The changes this year have been a bit different from a usual overflow as the general renovations have also been a source of frustration for students.  

Mesmariah Hall, a first-year who lives in Vollmer, took her position as a student senator to speak on behalf of her constituents. One factor was the noise of construction. 

“Basically 8 a.m., every single day, there is this loud banging. I have taken videos myself, and it is like all-consuming noise. It is insane. Also, they are working on the elevators, so outside you can hear the construction men’s music and the cranes picking up things. It is just noise all-day. If I want to work in my room, it is just not possible,” Hall said. 

Hall also described the lack of access to their building entrances during the winter, to a kitchen, and to Centennial Lounge as construction blocked off some areas. 

Compensation received by Vollmer residents has been a point of irritation. 

“Five hundred dollars if we just had to move would be perfect. But with the entire semester of complications, that isn’t enough. And then a lot of us are not going to be able to do it by Monday, April 4,” Hall said. 

Vollmer residents were notified of compensation in a March 24 email sent out on March 24 by area coordinator Courtney Tripp-Stuck. The credit amounts, said Hales, were decided by the Wartburg Business Office. 

The email said students who have completed their move and turned in their keys by 8:00am on Monday, April 4th would receive a $500 to their student account. If moved out with key turned in by 4 p.m. April 7, the credit decreases to $400. Later moves are compensated less with each date. 

Several students said they are frustrated by the communication from Residential Life. 

“I will say, from all of this, Residence Life has not been very helpful with students. How I think they handled the situation was pretty disorganized,” Neuendorf said. 

“If you miss an email then you literally have no idea what is going on. And now with the deduction of compensation with it, you have to do it now or you just not going to get money for it. Having that kind of strict window is really stressful. My weekends are basically full. I don’t have time to move my entire life to a different building. I really just wish we would have had information sooner,” Hall said. 

Hall was referring to the offer to help students move, which was April 3 from 1 to 4 p.m., Hall said it was a short time frame and she did not have time with her schedule.  

According to Hales, as of April 1, of the over 90 students moving, 13 signed up for the assistance. 

Neuendorf and Hall also said how first- years are especially affected. 

“People have been really transparent about how it’s very unfair and I completely understand. This being their first year of college and having to be relocated from where they lived all year is a horrible situation” Neuendorf said. 

“It feels like we are being taken advantage of, and that is not OK,” Hall said. 

In times like these, the students can feel alone. It is in these times that small heroes can arise for students. 

“It was difficult leaving my room because I really do like living in Clinton, but the people that I moved in with are very supportive. I can’t say that for everybody, but I’ve had a good experience with that. Just because, the people here are very kind. Even if somebody has to move in with somebody that they have never met before, they are kind people that are willing to take people in,” Neuendorf said. 

Ruth Hein, the science center office coordinator for six years, put the boxes outside her office for students who are moving. 

“A student stopped by and asked if we had any boxes since they were moving. So, I contacted maintenance, Residence Life, and others to let them know I was collecting boxes for students,” Hein said. 

For more information on the changes happening to Vollmer, students can visit https://www.wartburg.edu/cent-voll/#cost or refer to the October 26, 2021 edition of the Juice, which explains the timeline of the changes. 

Fundraising for the $9 million project to renovate Vollmer, Centennial and Hebron halls reached $8.3 million, according to the college’s website. 

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