Francisco Torres residents switched towers last week and found slightly smaller rooms and more complicated toilets waiting on the other side.
Work was recently completed on FT’s North Tower, which has been undergoing seismic retrofitting and other renovations since the beginning of the school year. Four floors moved from the South Tower to the North on March 28, with three floors moving each of the following two days. Among the surprises awaiting students were new carpets and paint jobs, locking bathroom doors and toilets with both a standard flush and a less powerful water-conserving flush.
Residents said the moving process was difficult, but they were mostly satisfied with the new digs.
“It was kind of hard, with three floors moving at once,” undeclared freshman Mario Garcia said. “One of the elevators at the old building was broken, and there was a big old line to use the elevators over here, too.”
Garcia said the move was worth the aggravation.
“The other building was dead – just so much old stuff,” he said.
Garcia’ roommate David Mateos also approved of the new rooms.
“They’re a little smaller, but they’re nicer,” the undeclared freshman said. “It’s got a new paint job, new sink, new everything.”
FT assistant resident director April Rosser told the Nexus in February that the new rooms would be a few square feet smaller than the previously 19-foot by 9-foot rooms, because the seismic retrofitting would make the walls thicker.
Most students said the difference was noticeable, but not a problem.
“They’re smaller, but just a little,” freshman English major Dacy Lim said. “It doesn’t really bother me.”
Freshman business economics major Melanie Damelio agreed.
“It’s definitely livable,” she said. “I especially like the new carpets – you’re not afraid to walk around barefoot anymore. And I like that you can lock the bathroom from the inside. In the old building you could be taking a shower and people could just walk in.”
Damelio said she also had some problems on moving day.
“It went pretty smooth, but they said there would be helpers, and I didn’t see any,” she said. “There also was supposed to be carts that we could use. I ended up on an hour-long waiting list to use one and just ended up carrying most of my stuff up myself.”
FT officials were unavailable for comment.
Several students said a lack of storage space was the only drawback to the new rooms. Lim said there was less space both around and under the new sinks, and undeclared freshman Garrett Colli was unsatisfied with the armoire that FT provided each resident.
“The other rooms had shelves and a big closet,” Colli said. “Here we just have these big drawers.”
Colli said the most noticeable changes in the new rooms are in the bathrooms.
“The old showers were actually really good, and these are kind of weak,” he said. “And the toilet has two buttons.”
UCSB purchased Francisco Torres in December 2002 and expects to spend more than $25 million on renovations. Work will now begin on the South Tower, which is projected to be complete in September, leaving both towers available for student housing in the 2004-05 school year.