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This item originally appeared in the April 29, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.

By RAYMOND ADEEKO

Staff Writer

Recently, there has been statewide discussion about the quality of on-campus living at universities around Louisiana, particularly with issues of fire safety and cleanliness.

Brian Lang, a freshman wildlife management major, said he is unhappy with the state of the residence halls.

"I think [the residence halls] are in poor living conditions and [the administration] should put more effort into not letting them deteriorate," Lang said.

Felicia Cooper, deputy state fire marshal administrator, said although the university passed most of the fire inspection test, it is important to always maintain the residence halls.

"Each dorm should make sure it has an emergency system in place and also ensure that the staff and students are well-trained and educated on how to respond to fire cases," Cooper said.

She cited some defects outlined in the last inspection, conducted last year, such as decibel levels of fire alarms in Harper and Hutchinson residence halls and a stairwell hall repair in Aswell Residence Hall.

For Tech, an eye-opener came in a fire incident that occurred in Cottingham Residence Hall last year.

The fire was reported to have resulted from a faulty window air conditioner unit and escalated because of an inaudible fire alarm system.

However, Cooper commended the university for its response to the defects outlined.

Dickie Crawford, dean of student life and auxiliary services, said the school authorities are aware of the housing problems and are taking necessary measures to remedy the situation on campus.

"We are looking at opportunities to provide new apartment-style living, which is what the students want," Crawford said. "We would continue to use traditional apartment halls but with new styles."

Crawford said the university has taken action toward achieving this goal with the construction of the new residence hall, University Park.

He said the new building will offer the modern comfort desired by the students.

"We know that present students anticipate and want different things from students of 60 years ago," Crawford said. "We are looking to provide them with this with the new buildings"

University Park will house 448 students and the premier occupants will be moved in for fall quarter.

Crawford has expressed the university's intentions to demolish the high-rise residence halls after University Park opens. He said the two- and three-story buildings would be kept open.

Heidi Hausmann, editor, contributed to this article.


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