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Resident Forum

19 October 2020

Resident Council Fall Forum 2020

You can watch a recording of the forum on Zoom at:

https://utah.zoom.us/rec/share/z3mJI584NDoD9vPF_QbkcuX-uJm-5Y_6IZ-V_n_AqxshBkN7up6n-ySB4WdAjbvf.XO3B1qFwEFRbKqmg

Access Passcode: f?Sav%4B

Notes from Forum

Safety:

Captain Bryce and Lt. Sturzenegger from the Department of Public Safety attended to talk about their role on campus and to provide safety tips for all.  You can view daily crime statistics on campus at https://reports.dps.utah.edu/CrimeReport.pdf

The Community Safety Patrol during evening hours has been replaced in coordinating with the Department of Public Safety, in an effort to have consistent security standards across campus. The East and West Villages will now be monitored by Department of Public Safety Security staff between the hours of 11pm and 5am in an effort to prevent theft and more quickly respond to active security threats. 

Department of Public Safety is hoping to launch their Lock It or Lose It program again next year, (due to COVID-19). This program allows you to register your bike through the Lock It or Lose It program and get a free U lock. These are the most secure bike locks and reduce bicycle theft.

Don’t leave anything valuable (or anything that looks valuable) in your cars. 

Resident Council Communication Strategy:

Resident Council is working to implement a text line where residents can communicate concerns/questions in a more convenient way. Magnets will be made to put on residents’ fridges including this text number and contact info for Resident Council Members.

Ongoing Maintenance:

  1. Student Apartments buildings are between 50 and 60 years old and reparative maintenance is a daily occurrence. Major repairs or renovations require emptying apartments and/or buildings or may require complete demolition and reconstruction due to code requirements. USA will actively address any life safety issues, but renovations or replacement of utility infrastructure will not occur until a major new construction project is approved for family and graduate housing. The Aspen 400 and 500 court demolition is the first phase of that replacement project.  

Q: Med tower elevators

              A: We are part of the campus contract with licensed elevator repair workers. Sometimes they have to get parts out of Utah and that is the reason for the waiting time. Those parts are rare and hard to come by. 

If you are having issues or see something please report it.

              Q: Do the mosquitos and spiders count as issues that we can report? 

              A: Yes, Please open a work order and let USA know. 

              Q: Why are the exit signs always out in the Medical Towers? 

              A: Four exit signs were out in medical towers and USA found upon researching the problem with those signs that all signs should be replaced with models that use longer lasting batteries.

              Q: Why can’t we do laundry in the middle of night?

              A: It is difficult for residents living next to those laundry rooms to sleep at night when laundry is going.

Pets/Service Animals

              Q: Pets aren’t allowed, yet there are animals everywhere. Why? 

              A: Pets are not allowed except for fish in tanks of 10 gallons or less (See the Resident Handbook for details). Service and emotional support animals are allowed because of state and federal law. If residents have received an accommodation for their animal, USA supports them and residents must abide by the policies related to these animals.

              Q: Can my sister bring her animal just to visit?

              A: Only registered service animals are allowed on the grounds with the exception of service animals or approved emotional support animals belonging to a current resident.

Rent Cost & Reconstruction

The University prioritized expanding single student housing before focusing on graduate/married student housing in the 2012 Housing Master Plan. A request for permission to move forward with the state’s approving bodies for a $126 million bond was recently approved by the Board of Trustees.

              Q: Why has our rent increased? 

              A: As an auxiliary business unit at the University of Utah, USA doesn't receive state funds, so rent revenue all operating and major project costs, including any repayment of a bond for new construction. USA still wants to keep rent below market in new housing and the goal is to not see a rent increase as big as this year’s again for the existing apartments.

COVID & Interactions with community

UIT expended the bandwidth because of so many people working and studying from home. 

Cleaning contractors have been hired to take care of high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, laundry machine buttons, and elevator buttons. 

Maintenance teams have been separated out and stationed in separate buildings rather than in the central maintenance building. This way, if there is exposure to the virus, the whole maintenance crew won’t have to quarantine.

Positive or suspected cases in courts are reported via email to the residents in those areas and on our website, apartments.utah.edu.

Instructions in what to do if you receive mail/packages that are not yours.

The Main Office is happy to take the package and happy to track down the person. Please don’t throw the package away, bring it to the Main Office in the West Village. 

Community food bank

USA is starting a satellite food bank. The FeedU pantry in the Union Building is far away and hard for USA residents to access. Hopefully by November 1st, USA will have a pantry set up in the Main Office. Residents can fill out a form to make an appointment to meet someone to access the food pantry. More information to come.

 

Spring Forum 2020

07 April 2020

COVID-19

  • Will residents have to move out like HRE? 
    • No, this is considered an essential service and won't be shut down.
  • Given the current pandemic, new laws and possible economic recession on the horizon, are you planning on enforcing move out dates for residents who are graduating at the end of this semester? 
    • Can't guarantee an extension, but there's a good chance that an extension will be granted because not many new families will be moving in this summer. Email and ask for your particular circumstances.
  • What safety measures are being taken to reduce the spread of the virus?
    • Have hired an outside service to clean laundry room and shared handles daily. Enhanced cleaning protocols for vacated apartments as well. 
    • Maintenance staff is split into teams that rotate to reduce the chance of spread. Maintenance received a shipment of PPE today so maintenance workers will be wearing face masks while entering apartments.. If you see that they aren't, let the main office know. 
    • Looking into the possibility of maintenance calling ahead prior to entering apartments.
  • Have we heard if the case in the south tower been confirmed? 
    • The person in the towers got a negative result. If there's someone in your building who has self-reported, you will be notified, but every case won't be communicated to all residents. 
  • Is there any way to keep track of the number of people infected at USA?
    • Jenn gets daily updates about People Under Investigation (PUI) on campus and will communicate with impacted buildings.
  • Internet speeds due to everyone staying home. 
    • UIT handles the internet for us and we are trying to troubleshoot. As of today they were able to upgrade the links to the campus backbone in the west village because it was over capacity so you should be seeing improvements. East and West Village are at 70% capacity usage. Med Towers at 50% capacity. If you are still having issues, please call UIT so they can help you troubleshoot. An email will go out in the next few days with common tips.

 

Building Safety

  • Earthquake response and findings
    • The university has standard protocols of how to respond to earthquakes. Facilities folks and structural engineers inspected every building on campus. They did a rapid assessment to look for urgent issues. They are now engaging a private structural engineering firm to do in-depth assessments of our buildings. 
    • Our buildings were built prior to seismic codes, so we are at higher risk. There was some cosmetic damage to exterior bricks (cracks), but no structural damage. There was damage to a pipe in the east village, and we may find more damage to pipes in the assessment.
    • We would work with community resources like the Red Cross if multiple families were impacted by a natural disaster. 
    • Safest place to go in an earthquake is under a sturdy table or exterior/weight-bearing wall.
  • Status of broken elevator in medical towers 
    • They are fixed! They took a while because elevators in the hospital were deemed a higher priority
  • CCURE access in medical towers
    • Has been delayed because of COVID-19 but it's still happening.

Rebuild

  • 400/500 court closures
    • 400/500 courts will be closed at the end of July in anticipation of demolition and installation of utility (wet utilities, electricity, gas) infrastructure. Hoping to get a rebuild plan approved this fall or next spring. A recent infrastructure study found that bringing in new utilities at the 400/500 courts would allow us to retain the old utilities and keep some apartments open while new ones are built (phased closure). There are open apartments in other courts for any 400/500 court residents that want to stay.
    • People will be moving starting in a few weeks. Taking into consideration everyone's circumstances (e.g. if you are expecting, you may be given preference to move early). Trying to avoid having everyone move at once.
  • Will relocated residents have to move again as phased closure continues? 
    • Rebuild will take approximately 8 years, with the plan we are considering right now. State legislature has to approve this project, so it may be a while for the build to start, but there's no guarantee you won't be asked to move again.
  • Why can’t I move into a 2 bedroom apartment in aspen? All I’ve heard is “mechanical issues”. If that’s the case, what are they? We have a few friends on 2 bedroom apartments in aspen, and there’s nothing wrong with there apartments.
    • We have been holding units for 400/500 court residents who want to transfer as those courts are closed.
  • Will green space be maintained with the new plans?
    • Green space is a top priority, along with affordability and community. Buildings will be denser (higher) but the same amount of green space. Most likely all graduate and family housing will be in the West Village and none in East Village or Med Towers. East Village is slated to become part of Research Park, possibly higher-end faculty housing. Likely a mix of surface and lot parking. Demand for on-campus family housing is decreasing, so density in the West Village will probably only increase by 1.5x.

Miscellaneous

  • Can we eliminate door-to-door flyers? 
    • Will look into limiting distributions and increasing digital communications. Most residents prefer to receive information via flyer, but will consider making changes due to current circumstances.
  • How will garden plots be assigned?
    • Currently brainstorming how to do this virtually. If you have suggestions, email gardens@usa.utah.edu 
  • Can we do virtual activities?
    • Will brainstorm with RAs how to do this.

 

Last Updated: 6/2/21