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After the ceiling of a McBain double collapsed last semester, Columbia Housing is launching a multi-year project to renovate the entire dorm, including its ceilings, starting this summer.

One of Columbia's most infamous sophomore residence halls is about to get a face-lift. 

Following two ceiling collapses earlier this year in McBain, on the corner of West 113th Street and Broadway, Columbia Housing has announced a multi-year renovation project that will begin this summer.

Renovations will include upgrades to lounges, bathrooms, and hallways on floors two through eight and inspections of the ceilings in the dorm rooms on these floors.

“The number of floors worked on each summer will be determined once all necessary specifications, plans, and bids are received and approved,” a spokesperson for Columbia Housing said in an email.

The spokesperson added that the bathrooms will be upgraded from multi-occupancy floor bathrooms to single-occupancy bathrooms, with the addition of one bathroom accessible to students with disabilities per floor. The changes will alter the layout of some of the rooms.

The lounges will get new cabinets, counters, kitchen appliances, and floors. 

“The doors to all student rooms will be replaced to include electronic, CUID-accessible door locks,” the spokesperson said. “Additionally, most rooms will receive new flooring and, as necessary, new ceilings.”

The new ceilings follow two ceiling collapses in McBain this year. Joanna Fu and Ecem Senyuva, both CC '16, were relocated to an empty room on the seventh floor in October after chunks of sheetrock fell from the ceiling of their room on McBain's sixth floor, damaging a number of their belongings. 

Then during winter break, Jack Michaud and Colin Ross, also CC '16, were relocated to the third floor after a similar incident occurred in their sixth floor dorm room.

McBain residents' views on the proposed changes varied from excited to indifferent, with many noting the cracks in their ceilings.

“You can see cracks along the top where the drywall is, which isn't really a good sign,” McBain resident Carlene Buccino, CC '16, said.

“My ceiling is full of cracks, and I freak out all the time thinking it's going to collapse,” said Ligner Vazquez, CC '16, who also said she's had problems with birds and mice. “I guess I would feel safer knowing it's going to be replaced, though.”

Androulla Markus, CC '16, said she had trouble sleeping after hearing about last semester's collapse. “When I was staring up at the ceiling at night, I had this creeping feeling that it might fall on me any time,” she said.

Jared Namba, CC '16, said he doesn't really think about McBain's problems. “I knew I wasn't signing up for luxury accommodation when I lived here,” he said. “If someone had been seriously injured [by a collapsing ceiling] I'd be way more worried, but that hasn't happened.”

Though the renovations have only been finalized for the floors with residents, Housing said that it was still deciding what to do with the first floor.

“Plans for first-floor renovations are still being finalized, with input from a number of students,” the spokesperson said. “Prospective plans include the relocation and renovation of the lounge, creation of additional study spaces, addition of an ADA-accessible bathroom, upgrades to student rooms, and possible centralization of the laundry room to this floor.”

Elizabeth Sedran contributed reporting.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled Ecem Senyuva's last name. Spectator regrets the error.  |  @ebbogz

McBain Residence halls renovations Columbia Housing
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