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Blast From the Past

Arts & Culture | November 4, 2010

Tuft’s newest dormitory, the 1.8 million Lewis Hall (Free-fer), has only been in use for four months, but already destruction by both students and outsiders and deterioration have taken their toll. From the paneling warping off the mainfloor walls to the doorknobs on the fire doors that break off in one’s hand, the dorm has been suffering from a multitude of problems.

According to Dean Steindler, these problems are not significantly different from those of other dorms, but student agree that the newness of the dorm makes them more obvious.

“Somebody goofed” was the comment of one resident when describing the deterioration of the decorative plywood panels that extend along the firstfloor hallways. Tufts Director of Physical Planning and Construction, Lawrence L. Ketchen, admitted, “We discovered the panels were moving about the middle of October.” However, he stressed that “this is very unusual for playwood paneling. The companies involved asked us to wait through one heating season in order to try and locate the problem. Then they’ll either replace the panels of put them back to stay.”

King of Freefer Hall, Spencer Lovette, has observed other evidences of faulty construction. “In on section, there is a two-foot-high, two-inch-deep hole in the wall. Apparently, two kids were wrestling and one was thrown against the wall. “The wallboard isn’t the strongest.” He listed example of many locks that are broken “not because of a great amount of abuse but because of poor quality.” Vacuuming the carpet has proved to be a problem because “the vacuum pulls up the strip carpet along the wall. You can’t do that to a good carpet.” Even a curtain rod fell from its secured perch under the weight of the curtain.

“This dorm was originally intended only for Jackson girls,” comment Spencer. “If only girls lived here, it would have withstood a few years’ use, as evidenced by walking through girls’ and boys’ sections.” A comparison reveals, he indicatied, that the boys’ sections have a much greater amount of wear and tear. However, even a girl bemoaned the fact that the walls were originally given only one coat of paint: “We certainly haven’t taken these walls apart, but it looks like it.” A male resident sounded a deeper note of gloom. “I’m really glad I’m living in Freefer this year, because it’s not going to last much longer.”

Destruction has hit the dorm extremely hard since September, the latest casualty being the Friday-night wrecking of one of the pinball machine just installed on Thursay, Feb. 18. Almost anything which can be taken or destroyed has been. The telephone at the front desk as been ripped out several times.