Around 100 Barton-Lundgren residents move out to create isolation spaces

Lundgren+Hall+stands+on+the+corner+of+Gregory+Drive+and+Fourth+Street+on+Sunday+Morning.+Around+100+students+living+in+the+dorm+were+asked+to+move+out+to+create+new+isolation+spaces.

Ryan Ash

Lundgren Hall stands on the corner of Gregory Drive and Fourth Street on Sunday Morning. Around 100 students living in the dorm were asked to move out to create new isolation spaces.

By Mona Alrazzaq, Contributing Writer

Around 100 Barton-Lundgren residents were granted a week-long extension to completely move out of their rooms before the University converted both dorms into student quarantine and isolation spaces. 

On Sept. 4, University Housing gave Barton-Lundgren residents until Sept. 13 to move out of the dorms entirely. A week-long extension was granted after students drafted an email sharing their concerns and frustrations about the decision, ranging from it being too short of a notice to the lack of an elevator to help carry their belongings out of the dorms, bringing the new move-out deadline to Sept. 20.

Since the beginning of the year, Barton-Lundgren have been used as “secondary locations” for quarantining or isolating students within University Housing. Another 13 University dorms have wings dedicated to student quarantine and isolation. 

University Housing spokesperson Chelsea Hamilton said that the University “ensured the safety of all residents in the building so there was no contact with general students and those in isolation” while the non-infected residents of Barton-Lundgren were moving out.

The students were sent a preference form to indicate which residence hall they wanted to move to. A majority of the students were relocated into single dorms around the Ikenberry area and charged the same rate as Barton-Lundgren double dorms.

At the beginning of the year, University Housing reserved 5% of their rooms for isolation and quarantine.

Clearing Barton-Lundgren adds 132 empty rooms, bringing University Housing’s total quarantine and isolation spaces to 627. These spaces are only available to students with a University Housing contract.

Hamilton said this move came from a concern about flu season approaching and coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is not the immediate need right now for the utilization of these spaces,” Hamilton said. “We wanted to be proactive should the time come when students need the additional space.”

Students were allowed two guests to assist them in the moving out process, but they had to figure out how to transport belongings to their new assigned dorm on their own.

Sara Siddiqui, a freshman in AHS and former Barton resident, asked her family members to drive to campus in order to assist her in the process. Siddiqui was frustrated because the initial email asking their residents to move out was sent right before Labor Day weekend. This resulted in an automatic reply when the students raised their concerns about the short notice. 

“I just thought it was unprofessional that they ghosted us for the weekend,” Siddiqui said. “Even if they had stuck to the original plan, it would have been fine, but I wish they would’ve given us more notice from the beginning.”

Even though students such as Siddiqui were frustrated, Hamilton stated that this move was necessary and the University was attentive to the students’ request for more time. She said that the University’s plans “have been forced because of COVID-19 to pivot many many times.”

The University has also formulated more contingency plans to ensure campus safety if COVID-19 rates spike up, though Hamilton said they’re “currently unable to be shared with the public.” Hamilton said she is unsure if students from other dorms across campus will be relocated. 

The resident advisors of Barton-Lundgren have been reassigned to other halls across campus. The resident director, Allie Santiago, has been relinquished of her responsibilities over Barton-Lundgren and will focus on her other assigned hall, Taft.

[email protected]