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Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Clock blocked: Bayou Oaks residents forced out for repairs

The stairwell and breezeway beneath the Bayou Oaks clock tower are under renovations until Thanksgiving, forcing multiple students to relocate on short notice. | Billion Tekleab/The Cougar

The discovery of a leak this summer in the stairwell beneath the Bayou Oaks clock tower has led to repairs and the subsequent relocation of multiple Bayou Oaks residents.

The students received notice Oct. 8 that they would need to temporarily move to a new dorm, free of charge, by Oct. 19 so maintenance crews could repair rot within the stairwell.

The repairs to the stairwell and breezeway are scheduled for completion by Thanksgiving.

“Most people got a week. I got two days,” said exploratory studies junior Ash Deepak. “I wasn’t given a room until yesterday or last night, and today is the last day to move out.” 

While some students were forced to move due to being directly impacted for the duration of the repairs, others were given a choice.

“Students who were required to move was due to their safety due to the work being completed directly impacting their occupied space,” said assistant director for Housing and Residential Life Douglas Bell in an email. “Students who were provided the option to move was done so at their comfort and as a courtesy.”

The renovation on the stairwell below the clock tower commenced in August, and only after students moved into their dorms did maintenance crews realize there would be an impact to a few of the occupied rooms. The students had to be moved quickly, Bell said.

After it was determined the breezeway needed to be completely reconstructed in October, students were given a week and a half notice to move.

But some students claimed they did not receive notice until just days prior to the move-out date. 

“I wasn’t contacted until two days ago, and I was like it’s kind of too late so I’m just going to stay because it’s an option,” said public health junior Azka Shahzad. 

Students that left have been offered free lodging in another dorm of their choice. While some did not take issue with the switch, others were left annoyed at what they felt was short notice. 

“I’m moving to the Lofts and not paying the Lofts money,” Deepak said. “So, I’m not complaining.” 

“My dad was super mad, he’s like, ‘So we literally had to move in just to move back out,’” said pre-law sophomore Xoxi Munoz. “Then I’ll pay the Bayou rate at Cougar Place, but if I stay there after they fix everything, I’ll have to pay Cougar Place dues even though I’d have to move back in again into Bayou. So I’d have to move three times.” 

When students move into residence halls at the beginning of the year, many have their parents to help. With a mid-semester move, students who own heavy furniture now have to find friends to help.

“It just sucks because we have to do it by ourselves,” Munoz said. “We don’t have our family with us.” 

For many, midterms are already demanding. When you add the task of moving after most have settled into their rooms and routines, there is a possibility grades could suffer.

“If freshmen had to move that much, they would be so overwhelmed,” Munoz said. “It’s still only the first month and a half of school.” 

There are no safety concerns for the students who had the option to stay. 

“As with any construction site, students should be mindful of their surroundings when facilities work is being done,” Bell said in an email. 

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