Residents of Francisco Torres Residence Hall will pack their bags and move into the building’s North Tower in March – they just can’t bring all of their stuff with them.
April Rosser, FT’s assistant resident director, said the newly renovated rooms in the North Tower would be smaller than the current rooms in South Tower. In addition to being a few square feet smaller than the previously 19-foot by 9-foot rooms, the North Tower rooms will have no closets and no shelving on the walls, luxuries South Tower residents currently enjoy.
“Yes, the rooms will be smaller,” Rosser said. “The rooms will be smaller because the walls will be thicker for the seismic retrofitting.”
The Residence Halls Association website warns students that “the rooms will be narrower,” and that the difference in size will be “a noticeable change.” To make up for the loss of a closet and a chest of drawers, the RHA website says each resident will be provided with an armoire. FT staff will also hold a charity clothing drive during the end of Winter Quarter and the beginning of Spring Quarter encouraging participants to give away any personal belongings they can spare in order to fit into the smaller rooms with less storage space.
“I don’t see why they should make [the rooms] smaller,” said Audrey Weller, a sophomore communications major and FT resident. “I hate that we don’t have any shelves or closets. And I think it’s really devious that they are having a clothing drive right before we move into a place without closets.”
Freshman English major and FT resident Jessica Greene said she has a lot of personal belongings, and it will be difficult to move them.
“Without a closet or shelves, I’ll have nowhere to put anything. I’ll have to keep my clothes and books on the floor — or in the bathtub,” Greene said.
Despite the loss of space and shelving, FT Resident Director Seth Avakian said FT residents would not see a decrease in housing fees.
“The rooms are still larger than the sizeable majority of the rooms in on-campus residence halls at UCSB,” Avakian said. “So no, they will not be paying any less.”
FT, which UCSB acquired in December 2002, has been undergoing renovation since the start of the 2003-04 school year. The residence hall, which consists of two towers, is being retrofitted one tower at a time to meet current state earthquake safety standards. The South Tower continued to house students while the North Tower was being redesigned, but now that construction on the North Tower is almost complete, FT residents will have to relocate so work can begin on the South Tower.
“The state of California has requirements for its public buildings, and now that the university owns Francisco Torres, we need to meet or exceed those expectations,” Avakian said. “To do this, the buildings have to undergo seismic retrofitting.”
Other changes to be made to FT accommodations include the addition of locks to the bathroom doors, insetting sinks into the wall, upgrading current beds to have standard extra-long twin mattresses and the removal of certain pieces of furniture. Rosser said residents will begin the transition to the North Tower on March 28, the Sunday after Spring Break, and will finish by the following Tuesday. She said two to three floors will move at a time in order to reduce congestion of the 10-story building’s two elevators.