Some of the 400 students slated to live in Chapman’s newest dorm, “The K,” worry construction won’t be finished in time for the Aug. 22 move-in date.
“There’s still a big dirt hole in the center of the building. Seeing that doesn’t make me feel secure,” said freshman history major Eric Alva, whose first choice of housing was The K because it’s separate from main campus but close enough to skateboard to class.
Because move-in is just three months away, some students are concerned The K will not be complete or built at the best quality. Director of Residence Life Dave Sundby said he is confident that the building will be completed on time but acknowledged there is no “Plan B” if it’s not. Residence Life had been planning on building more dorms for years and initial construction was supposed to start five to six years ago, Sundby said.
Residence life started planning last spring and began construction early January of this year, according to Sundby.
Residence life intended to build The K where the tennis courts are, but there was an issue with the soil, according to Sundby. Now, The K sits diagonal to Marion Knott Studios. All of The K apartments will be fully occupied, housing around 400 students, which is just shy of the populations of Davis, Harris, and Glass combined, Sundby said.
Chapman Grand was freshman broadcast journalism and documentary major Vi Nguyen’s first choice, but after thinking it over, she realized The K was a better option because it’s so close to Marion Knott Studios, where she takes many classes. She was wary of choosing The K without knowing what the inside would look like other than renderings of its layout and a youtube video by Residence Life.
In the video, Henley Hall Resident Advisor and YouTube personality Jack Ruhl compared the size of one K apartment to three times that of a Henley dorm room. He also included footage of an unfinished apartment.
“We worked hard to get information out to students,” said Sundby. “We had more access to the building than I’ve ever had in my career for a building that’s under construction.”
Sundby was eager to guarantee that construction was occurring as scheduled. “There’s no doubt that the building will be open for students to move into in August,” he said.
If for some reason the building is not ready, “we would have to figure out how we would house those students for any temporary stretch until the building is opened,” Sundby said.
Even if R.D. Olson, the company hired to build The K, completes the construction by their proposed date, there are worries that work might be rushed.
“The idea that they might rush the construction scares me because I want it to be really modern and nice, and I don’t want them to do a half-ass job,” Nguyen said.
Others are trusting the process.
“Students will be living there and it’s owned by the university: There’s no way that The K won’t be as safe as it possibly can,” said undeclared freshman Adam Richardson. “I am not concerned. It will absolutely be fine.”
There are inspections throughout the construction process done by different project managers employed by Chapman who will work alongside R.D. Olson, Sundby said. The city also has to permit The K after looking at both the city and state building codes to ensure that the building is safe, according to Sundby.
“If something goes wrong with the building that’s structural, [contractors] are taking on that liability. Contractors and subcontractors don’t want to do poor work because that will come back to them financially and from a reputation standpoint,” Sundby said. “There is no reason for the work to be rushed, and there’s good reason to believe that if a company were to do poorly it would affect their future business with Chapman.”
Pictures of the construction can be found on the website of R.D. Olson Construction.