By Aug. 1, all 26 Domes residents will have to find new housing.
On Monday, members of the Domes community met with representatives of Fire, Environmental Health & Safety, Design and Construction Management and Student Housing to discuss the immediate and long-term futures of the Domes.
According to Margurite Wilson, a graduate student at the School of Education and current Domes resident, Student Housing will not be renewing the leases for 2011-2012.
Student Housing estimates that two to three of the 15 Domes need to undergo renovations in order to meet the requirements of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In addition, after inspections from the UC Davis Fire Department, UC Davis Environmental Health and Safety and UC Davis Design and Construction Management, recommendations were made to replace the foaming on the interior of the structures and to bring them up to the 2007 California Building Codes.
“The estimated cost is $43,000 per dome to replace the foam. At about the same time as the inspections of the Domes, the ADA report came forward with estimated costs of $300,000 to get the Domes into compliance,” said Emily Galindo, associate director for Student Housing, during the forum.
Student Housing and members of the Domes community discussed various ways to finance the reconstruction.
“Loan options were presented as ways to finance this project, and they were pretty enormous loans at that,” said Dory Mastrogany, a recent graduate and Domes alumna in an e-mail interview. “I myself am wary of any loan Student Housing can offer us, especially after the fiasco with loans at the Tri Co-ops after renovations in the 2006-08 years.”
Community members expressed their concerns for the Domes – sometimes referred to as Baggins End – as well as the need to continue the community for future generations.
Baggins End is creating a sustainable future, said Michelle Yates, a graduate student in cultural studies and current Domes resident, who opened the forum. The community of Baggins End is not just a set of structures, and its social sustainability component must be maintained, she said.
However, the fact that Student Housing will not be renewing the leases does not mean the end of the Domes. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done for the future of the community.
“I felt both disappointed and hopeful,” Wilson said in an e-mail interview. “Disappointed because Student Housing appeared unwilling to reach a compromise as to how to address the identified structural issues, which are simple fixes in the short-term, while allowing the community to continue to exist and develop a long-term plan. But I do feel hopeful that we will be able to persist on this campus, continuing our 40-year history while envisioning a new socially, environmentally and financially sustainable future.”
MICHELLE MURPHY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.