Piles of items lay scattered around Haley Bowyer as she leaned up against her bed and refolded clothing to put in the dresser in her new dorm.
In the hallway, her new floormates rolled blue-and-gold moving bins past her door. The students had carted their things from Dykstra Hall to become the first residents of Holly Ridge residential hall.
Nearly 1,000 Dykstra Hall residents were relocated over Presidents’ Day weekend to the newly completed De Neve residential halls, Holly Ridge and Gardenia Way.
A train of moving trucks carted students’ belongings roughly 500 feet up Gayley Avenue. Meanwhile, residents darted up and down the graffiti-filled stairs of Dykstra Hall, collecting their final moving boxes.
The move had to take place mid-year in order to stick to Dykstra Hall’s 15-month renovation plan that places the hall’s reopening in fall of 2013, said Frank Montana, construction mitigator for the Office of Residential Life.
With several building projects waiting to be completed, further delay in Dykstra’s renovation could deter other projects and cost more money in the long run, he said.
Construction costs are also lower because of the economic climate. The entire Northwest Housing Infill Project, which includes the two De Neve halls and two more Sproul buildings, will come in at $100 million below the original $375 million budget because of tight competition between contractors, Montana said.
Although the move officially began at 9 a.m. on Friday, staff members and those participating in Dance Marathon were able to move in Thursday night. The large number of residents moving from every floor caused overcrowding in the elevators.
“I had to wait 30 to 45 minutes to get an elevator,” said Bowyer, a first-year biology student. “They weren’t very organized.”
But by Friday morning the congestion had subsided to a 15-minute wait. The move was so smooth that residents scheduled to move out Sunday were given permission to move Saturday instead, said Rick Wan, resident director of Dykstra Hall.
Broken dryers in the new dorms did slightly delay the move-in process, however. Residents, like first-year undeclared student Victoria Sun, were not able to properly wash their clothes or sheets.
“It took me all day just to get my laundry done,” Sun said.
Like several other residents, Bowyer was originally upset about having to move during the quarter, she said.
But seeing the new rooms made her realize how worn and outdated Dykstra Hall was, Bowyer said. She suddenly regretted she had to live there for so long, she added.
The dorms in Holly Ridge and Gardenia Way were designed to be wider in order to be wheelchair accessible, Wan said.
“You definitely don’t feel like your roommates are stacked on top of you anymore,” he said.
The trade-off for the extra space is less storage area. First-year undeclared student Alexandra da Silva had to go buy storage bins to make up for the lack of overhead cabinets.
The best part of the new dorms for da Silva, however, was the upgraded bathrooms.
The showers in da Silva’s former bathroom often flooded because the drains would clog with hair.
“I would be taking showers with my feet under water,” da Silva said. “We would have to kick the water to a different drain so it would go down.”
In Dykstra, residents on da Silva’s floor waited for the one shower with good water pressure and whose temperature did not fluctuate when a toilet was flushed, even if all the other ones were open, she said. “Now all the showers are the same.”
The panoramic view of Los Angeles from Bowyer’s ninth floor dorm room was her favorite upgrade, she said.
“Before I looked out onto an alley,” she said. Her new wall-to-wall windows offer a view that stretches from the ocean to the Hollywood Hills.
With the furniture dismantled in the hallways by Sunday evening, Dykstra Hall was a shell of its former self.
“It was surreal to see everything taken apart,” said Sam Radogna, a third-year communication studies student and former resident assistant in Dykstra Hall. “(The movers) kept knocking on my door to take away my furniture.”
Radogna lived in Dykstra Hall her first year and thought that it was everything that a college dorm should be, she said.
“I was really sad to leave, but I’m excited for the challenge of meeting new people and doing things that no one has ever done before,” Radogna said.