BERKELEY'S NEWS • SEPTEMBER 28, 2022

I-House residents voice complaints about ongoing construction at forum

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JIHOON PARK | STAFF

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APRIL 08, 2015

International House residents voiced grievances regarding ongoing construction noise and disturbances at a forum with I-House administrators Tuesday.

The construction, which started in January as a part of the Dining Commons Transformation Project, caused high noise levels and physical vibrations within rooms near the construction zone, according to students at the forum. Some students said they were not adequately informed of the extent of these disturbances before moving in.

Owen Warren, a junior exchange student from England, said at the forum that the corridor directly above the dining commons has experienced fumes and that students have regularly seen cockroaches and had construction workers in their hallways and bathroom.

“It’s just a breach (of) our experience and our privacy,” Warren said.

Acknowledging renovations were “disruptive” but a “reality” of construction, the chief executive director of I-House, Hans Giesecke, said at the forum that administrators wished the situation was easier.

The I-House application last spring included a construction notice that said that meal services would be at a venue outside I-House and that construction would create noise, dust, fumes and other disruptions. I-House’s chief of operations, Jason Patent, said that applicants had to check a box in the application acknowledging the notice and that residents also signed a form before receiving their room keys.

“People didn’t realize that these construction workers would be on their floors, in their bathrooms (and) outside their rooms all the time,” said I-House resident and former Daily Californian staff member Saachi Makkar, who has lived in the building for two years.

The initial primary impact zone, or area acknowledged to be affected by construction, proposed by I-House administrators included only 15 rooms directly above the dining commons. The zone included 19 residents, who were each given a $500 discount on their first rent installment of the spring semester.

But a survey conducted by the I-House Resident Council, composed of resident volunteers, concluded that the number of residents affected far exceeded the 19 initially reimbursed. Administrators then increased the impact zone to 115 rooms, and the 164 residents living in them were offered a $750 discount, in addition to $250 more for those in the original zone. The Resident Council, however, wanted to include more rooms and implement a sliding scale of compensation based on decibel readings and complaints.

According to Patent, there are no plans to further increase either the discount or the number of residents who receive discounted rent.

“People take a lot of positive experiences away from their residency at I-House, and we didn’t want to prevent people who wanted to live here from living here,” Giesecke said, adding that only four rooms in I-House are currently out of service because of construction.

But Makkar said that taking primary impact zone rooms out of commission is justified and that there is a general lack of transparency between residents and the I-House administration.

The dining commons construction, costing $9 million, is expected to be finished in June.

Contact Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks at  or on Twitter

LAST UPDATED

APRIL 09, 2015


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