Students describe campus bathroom maintenance problems

Two of the three stalls in the second-floor bathroom in Rivers Hall are out of order. Rivers resident Kaylee Thomas said students have not been able to use them for at least two or three weeks. Thomas said the only stall students have access to in the bathroom has a leaky pipe above the toilet.

Students say low funding for the maintenance of campus bathrooms is noticeable in the quality of the facilities.

The cleanliness and upkeep of the bathrooms seem to have fallen by the way side, they said.

“I try to avoid all bathrooms on campus,” said sophomore Todd Erickson. “They’re always dirty, and people often forget to flush.”

At its quarterly meeting Sept. 8, the university board of trustees announced renovations to the bathrooms in Norton Auditorium will soon become reality.

The $13-per-credit-hour facilities fee charged to students as part of tuition will fund the project, said Vice President for Facilities Administration and Planning Michael Gautney.

The funds collected from fall tuition will become available to the department Oct. 1, so the renovations will begin some time after that, Gautney said.

Erickson said the university should invest more funds in updating the bathrooms.

“We do the very best to keep things clean,” said Vice President of Facilities Administration Michael Gautney. “A lot of this has to do with funding, even with the facilities fee we have in place, there’s no way to cover everything on campus we need done.”

Junior Meredith Hamner acknowledged the effort to keep bathrooms in working order.

“I know UNA funds are obviously limited, and they have many things to take care of,” Hamner said.

She also said she noticed if a bathroom on campus is out of order it is taken care of that day.

Junior Cody McGowan identified bathrooms in Floyd Hall, the art department and the music department as “gross”.

“I don’t really use them unless they’re in the newer buildings,” McGowan said.

Other students expressed disapproval with the bathrooms in the residence halls as well.

Junior Colby Lange, a resident of the third floor of Rice Hall, said he sees trash overflowing in the bathrooms, and students have to step through it to get to the showers.

Lange said the bathrooms are worse on weekends and during holiday breaks.

“I think if they had someone take the trash out it would be helpful,” he said.

Gautney said the staff is struggling to maintain the buildings.

“We are limited to the number of people we can have per building, and with new buildings (being constructed), we are even shorter on help,” he said. “We do see the issues that are there, and we want to fix them. But, with the limited funding we have, there’s only so much we can do.”

Lange suggested the university hire student workers to help maintain the residence hall bathrooms.

Junior Lakenda Ruffin, a resident of Rice Hall and former resident of LaGrange Hall, agreed the dorms are in need of bathroom improvements, adding they are “worse than everywhere else” on campus.

“The showers don’t even get hot, and the trash is overflowing,” Ruffin said.

Gautney said some of the work done to maintain the bathrooms is not always visible to students.

“You can have a clean restroom and it still not be acceptable,” Gautney said. “The condition is not something that’s being ignored. It’s just a matter of funding. There have been some improvements, but it’s not enough.”