Bond House, the new installment of the Brandon Ave. residential community for upperclassmen, opened Aug. 25 for student move-in, despite being unfinished. Furniture was placed Sept. 4, but residents have reported to facilities management services following encounters with mice and centipedes and trouble with kitchen appliances.
In June, Housing and Residence Life first updated students that there may be delays on the construction of the building, although construction was still expected to be completed by move-in. In another email sent Aug. 14, it was disclosed that cosmetic needs would need to be finished. Students were informed Aug. 22 that construction would continue throughout the semester.
Most Bond residents interviewed by The Cavalier Daily were upbeat about their housing experience, but they described a range of issues that exceed lacking cosmetic details.
One problem reported by students in Bond is the prevalence of rats and centipedes inside. In a group chat for first floor residents, students discussed sightings on their floor.
Second-year Engineering student Samreen Azam is a first-floor resident of Bond who found mice during her first week back at the University.
“We found a mouse within the first week,” Azam said. “Facilities did help out as much as they can. But like, you know, we still have to clean up after it. So they gave us these poison traps … I also got like some glue traps from home … we didn't want to kill it.”
Second-year College student Dominique Malloy also lives on the first floor, but she hadn’t seen any mice. However, Malloy said that hearing that there were mice still made her uneasy.
“The main issue I have right now is we keep talking about seeing mice everywhere,” said Malloy. “I have not actually seen it, but there are constantly people talking in our group chat about it, so I guess people have. I'm on the first floor, so I guess it's the higher floors.”
Wes Hester, director of media relations and acting spokesperson for University Communications, confirmed that mice had been spotted by students but explained that the mice were isolated to a small area of the building.
“A couple of residents from the same area of the building reported mice, but there is no evidence of a larger rodent issue,” Hester said.
Second-year College student Jonathan Laredo mentioned that another concern at Bond was the persisting “major” construction on the first floor. Laredo thought that the construction would turn into study rooms, but he is now unable to tell because the construction hasn’t developed into anything resembling study rooms yet.
Other students described problems with their appliances, such as ovens or fridges, installed in their apartments. These appliances either didn’t turn on, or they fell apart.
Xander Judge, a second-year Engineering student and resident of Bond, said he and other residents ran into obstacles with kitchen appliances. Judge said his own apartment had to have the stove replaced, while another apartment’s fridge stopped working.
“Each room varies from what I've heard with what appliance works and stuff like that,” Judge said. “Like, my oven just didn't work, so they had to replace it with an electric one.”
Malloy suggested that perhaps problems with stovetops have been due to their “auto-sizing” feature.
“I know like the stove is really weird,” Malloy said. “People have been saying like, it's ‘boujee’ or whatever. It like auto sizes, so like certain pots won't work in certain places.”
In an email sent on Aug. 22, HRL informed students that the apartments would be equipped with induction stoves, so that the stoves would “require the use of induction or induction-compatible cookware” for the cookware to heat up. In kitchens, the burners specify that there is an auto-sizing feature.
The HRL co-chairs declined a request for comment.
In relation to maintenance issues, students have reported a flow of facilities and construction workers in and out of the building.
“There's like constantly construction workers going in and out of rooms and throughout the building,” Malloy said. “I know one day I was taking a nap, and a construction worker was like beating on the door asking if anybody was in there.”
However, Malloy added that the traffic of workers in the building did not cause any additional issues.
“I wouldn’t say I feel unsafe — they're under a contract,” Malloy said. “So, there isn't much I can do, and they seem for the most part respectful. Some of them they either try to stay out of your way, or they'll just say good morning.”
Laundry and mailroom facilities continue to be located at Bice, another upperclassmen residence hall that neighbors Bond, for the time being. Last week, some floors had working laundry machines, but the machines were turned off this week.
Hester reported that facilities management was “working through issues daily as they have been reported at Bond House” and “communicating to the residents on a weekly basis.” However, he did not confirm any widespread issues with appliances. He also stressed the security of the building.
“Appliance replacements have been made as issues have been reported and we are not aware of any residents without a working oven,” Hester said. “The building is secure at all times and all building doors are locked and require either card access or UVA keys to access.”