The new occupancy limits for University of Dayton-owned housing will be temporary, according to university president Daniel Curran.
“I want to say that this is temporary,” Curran said. “This limit is temporary.”
In a Sunday, Jan. 27, address to the Student Government Association, Curran expressed discontent with the policy, calling it “a reaction to what had happened.”
“I just want to come here as the president and just tell you first of all that I’m not comfortable with the policy,” Curran said, “and in terms of the actual capacities I didn’t even see them until Friday night – when I requested the numbers.”
The university president expressed the need to find and make repairs to houses that are not in long-term condition.
“I think this requires some rethinking on the part of the administration,” Curran said. “The research will be conducted. If the houses are in that shape, then the houses will be replaced. We will aggressively move to replace the houses. This will become the housing priority for the university.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 29, the university announced it intended to inspect and reinforce the floors in 301 university houses as a “precautionary measure.”
The process began on Wednesday, and is expected to conclude on or before Friday, Feb. 8. SGA president Emily Kaylor predicted the process would take about two months, and the university stated it likely will raise the occupancy limits after the completion of the work.
There have been five known floor incidents in university housing since 2010. On Jan. 19, the main floors of 1522 Frericks Way and 118 Lawnview Ave. broke during
Later that week, the residents of 218 Kiefaber St. contacted university officials regarding apparent floor problems as a precautionary measure. The university cited termite damage as the reason for the “soft spots” in the house’s floor.
Last year, the Dayton Fire Department cited a floor collapse as a contributing factor to an Oct. 27 fire during a party at 423 Stonemill Road. In November 2010, a floor collapsed during a party at 223 K St.
Flyer News obtained an email sent by Housing and Residence Life stating the university hired a structural engineering firm that inspected every student house over winter break. Beth Keyes, vice president of Facilities Management, said the university hired the firm after the 423 Stonemill Road incident to “check a sampling of houses to determine live loads.”
Curran told SGA the university should have fixed the situation earlier.
“Again, we had an incident more than a year ago. We should have dealt with this then. We will deal with it appropriately now, and not, I’m going to say this again, at the expense of the UD community.”
Curran also took responsibility for maintaining the community spirit of the neighborhoods.
“The student neighborhoods – the Ghetto and the Darkside – are part of UD. They will be part of UD in the future. It won’t be compromised. This administration, under my leadership, will make sure the community is maintained. We will not take the easy way out. In many ways, this could be interpreted as the easy way out.”
Kaylor said she met with university administrators, including Joe Saliba, university provost, regarding the situation. She said the administration sought her candid opinion.
“We expressed that there was discontent with the housing occupancy limits,” Kaylor said. “I told [Chris Schramm, dean of students,] I can’t support the policy, but I understand why you want to do it.”
Kaylor said she is unaware of a cost estimate for the project. According to the university, the typical, routine annual investment for student houses totals $2 million.
For now, Kaylor hopes students will be mindful of the limits while keeping UD’s community alive.
“I think students need to go on with the fact that we’re conscious of the numbers, we understand our houses are old, we understand they’re going to be reinforced within the next couple of months, but I don’t think it should change our community at all,” Kaylor said.
“I think the UD community is what makes us so special, and I think as long as we can use common sense and be smart about it there’s no reason to not keep our community.”