By Ashley Glazebrook
City on a Hill Press Reporter
While the penetrating sound of jackhammers at 8 a.m. has bothered many students, Porter College’s renovation continues on schedule.
Part of a 10-year general maintenance plan, the Porter renovation of the B Building will include bathroom restorations, new carpeting and furniture, environmentally sound upgrades that will help preserve resources like water and electricity, and seismic improvements.
Several campuswide renovation projects began in May 2008 and have been ongoing ever since, from updating student dorms to refurbishing the Student Health Center.
Porter’s B Building will receive an additional floor, and its fellow residence hall, A Building, will receive a supplementary two floors as well. B Building is scheduled to reopen Sept. 1, and A Building is scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2010. There will be 280 new bed spaces for students once the construction is complete.
As for the beloved Porter/Kresge dining hall in Building C, renovations will begin in spring 2009 and will not be completed until January 2010. There will be new cooking stations as well as augmented serving facilities, and “green” adjustments that will increase the conservation of electricity and water.
Lily DerMinasian, second-year student at UC Santa Cruz, lived in Porter’s B Building her first year. The condition of the building was poor, she said.
“The biggest problem I had was the flooding of my room when it was raining,” DerMinasian said. “Water just came in through a crack in the wall. When we came back from break there was a mildew smell in the room, and we were just given a fan to dry it out.”
Michael Yamauchi-Gleason, college administrative officer for Porter and Kresge, said that the living conditions were not stellar.
“Definitely the building needed to be refreshed,” Yamauchi-Gleason said. “The other issue with B Building and with a lot of our other older buildings, is that today’s students just have a lot more electronics and have a greater electric power need. It was pretty common in B Building that there would be three or four computers going on at the same time and other things and the breakers would go off. So one of the things that’s part of this project is to increase the number of breakers and power available to students.”
However, as construction goes on, students complain about being displaced.
“I feel like a lot of people really wanted Porter and then couldn’t get into it,” said Breezy Colomb, third-year student and Porter resident adviser (RA). “So there are a lot of displaced people who would have felt more comfortable at Porter.”
Yamauchi-Gleason explained that the renovation affects the whole university.
“In some ways, all the colleges were affected because B Building actually was our largest building and Porter historically has always had more first-year students than the other colleges,” Yamauchi-Gleason said. “So because we just couldn’t house as many first-year students in Porter, we spread out the number of first-year students that each college would take as their own affiliates.”
Colomb said that the main complaint she received from students about the renovation was the 8 a.m. start time for construction.
“It was so loud because they were taking off the top floor of the building,” Colomb said. “It was just jackhammers all the time.”
Colomb also explained that as a result of construction, Porter has lost its once-lively atmosphere.
“Last year, there were people in the quad all the time,” Colomb said. “Painting, playing music — it was a really great space for everyone. And now that’s kind of taken away.”
The general consensus from students seems to be that of grim recognition. These changes are inevitable, but the displacement of students, the impending closure of the dining hall and the early-morning commencement of construction leave students melancholy.
“It looks horrible right now, but it needs to be done,” DerMinasian said. “I just hope it’s better than it was.”