Clare: Worth the large price tag or not?

By Melissa Freund
Assistant Sports Editor
Costing a total of $8.8 million, Viterbo’s Clare apartment building was completed in August of 2012. Although funding for Clare Apart¬ments came from the university’s quasi endowment, rather than be-ing paid through students’ tuition, a few Clare residents are question¬ing whether or not the large price tag was worth it. Including lost mufflers and cracked windows, the newest addition to on-campus housing has kept the physical plant busy.
Although the nearly nine mil¬lion dollar price tag may seem steep, considering the recurring issues that have afflicted residents, “the building was designed to be 26% more energy efficient than required” by building codes, said McCurdy. “The energy efficient items in the building include better wall insulation, high efficiency win¬dows, high efficiency fan coil units (furnaces), a high efficiency chiller (air conditioning), and higher ef¬ficiency restroom exhaust fans.”
Consisting of two person, four person and studio style apartments, the Clare building provides on-campus housing for an additional 118 Viterbo students. According to Gene McCurdy, Viterbo’s physi-cal plant director, the new housing complex was built in order to meet the increased demand in on-cam¬pus housing options. Another new addition to the Viterbo campus is the lower level parking garage, on the first floor of the Clare building, which can hold up to 33 vehicles.
Overall, students living in the new apartment complex, agree that, “Clare is a wonderful building to live in, with a great atmosphere,” stated Sara Watson, a junior biology major from New London, Minn.
However, according to Wat¬son, one of the major complaints throughout the building is that a number of students have bottomed out their cars in the parking area. Watson stated that near the bot¬tom of the exit ramp of the parking garage, there is a, “visible ridge…[which] poses a significant problem to many people.” Due to the fact that she owns a car, Watson stated that she can generally evade scrap¬ing this ridge if she drives slowly; however, “for residents whose vehicles have a longer wheelbase, such as trucks or vans, it is un¬avoidable.”
One such incident occurred on Jan. 26, when Jessica Schurmann, a senior studio art major from Maus-ton, Wis., was leaving the Clare parking garage. Schurmann stated that, as her and her boyfriend left the building, she was traveling at her “normal slow speed” of about 1-3 miles an hour. Schurmann ex-plained that this is when, “I felt and heard my car scrape as I drove up the ramp.”
After continuing down Market Street for a few blocks, Schur¬mann heard a loud bang and the car began to rumble. By this time, Schurmann had reached 4th Street, so she pulled into the parking lot of the Freedom gas station, where she discovered that the muffler of her Mercedes Benz C220 “had broken off of the main connection to the point where it could not be rein¬serted.”
Schurmann was able to patch up her car well enough to be able to drive it home the next weekend. However, due to the extent of the damage, she had to miss a day of classes and pay a $53 repair bill, a cost which Schurmann believes the university should cover.
“We pay double the price of normal parking, and should not have to put up with this problem,” argued Schurmann. However, in response to this plea, McCurdy stated that, “the damages…, while unfortunate, aren’t the responsibil¬ity of the University, due to any negligence.”
Schurmann stated, “I have to argue that I was not negligent in any way.” In fact, after conducting a small, informal, survey, Schurmann reported that 11 of the 33 students who park their cars in the Clare ramp have scraped their undercar¬riage at least once. “I can assume a third of the total Clare garage spot owners were not [negligent] as well,” Schurmann said.
Along with the problems in the parking garage, senior nursing major, Kelsey Pruitt, who is one of two peer advisors for the Clare Apartments, has had to deal with a number of cracking windows.
To date, Pruitt stated that a total of six apartments have reported a crack in one of their windows. After being informed of the first crack, Pruitt explained that, “Physical Plant, Residence Life, and Clare’s peer advisors investigated the issue more thoroughly.” It was deter¬mined that the residents of the apartments did not cause the win¬dows to crack, so the manufacturer of the windows was contacted in order to explore other possibilities.
McCurdy confirmed that Vit¬erbo has been in contact with the window manufacturer and, “they have ruled out that it [the cracked windows] has anything to do with the building foundation settling.” Although the cause of the cracks has not yet been confirmed, Mc¬Curdy assured that “the windows will be replaced at no cost to the university.”

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