Since Hillside Residence Hall was built at the University of Rhode Island in 2012, rumors have spread around campus regarding a faulty structure and a sinkhole, but Housing and Residential Life finally put these assumptions to an end.
Hillside Hall is home to 600 first-year students and includes several living-learning communities including the Harrington School, College of Nursing, and Chinese Flagship. The building is very environmentally friendly and energy efficient with 64 solar panels, green roofing, recycled building materials, and hands-free water fountains. The architecture for the new building was awarded the 2012 AIA Rhode Island Design Honor Award for Best Institutional Building Design.
Despite the fancy exterior of the hall, freshman students residing in Hillside described some rumors they have heard, including the idea of reconstructing the entire $42 million building.
“[Hillside] was built on a sinkhole and it has to be knocked down in like four years,” URI freshman Alexis Melfi said. “Honestly, I didn’t believe [the rumor] at first, because why would they build [Hillside] if they knew it was on a sinkhole?”
Similarly, freshman Hillside resident Brona Campbell shared her concerns.
“I heard that when they built Hillside, they did not account for the amount of people and things, so the weight is apparently causing the foundation to crank and in turn, make the building sink,” Campbell said.
Many students expressed concerns about a faulty structure, but John Sears, Director of Housing and Residential Life, does not know where these rumors are coming from. He said that there are some cracks in the marble as a result of settling, which is common for many buildings a year or two after construction. Students might see the threshold of some of the bathrooms and think the building is sinking, but Pearce assured that this is not the case.
“There’s no sinking or sinkhole,” Sears said. “The foundation is fine, the structure is fine. When you build on granite, you’re on a pretty solid foundation.” He said that he wants students to enjoy what Hillside has to offer, and not to be concerned about any structural issues in the residence hall.
Sears explained that since 2012, there have been no issues regarding the structure or foundation of the building. He said that with new buildings, it’s usual to work through issues, but none are related to the structure of Hillside.
“It’s a solidly constructed building, students like living here, and it has been serving us well,” Sears said. He encouraged concerned students to relax and enjoy the facility as a first-year student.
So far, Sears has received positive comments about the building and said that students enjoy residing there and take advantage of the large space and numerous lounges.
Although Hillside is not being reconstructed any time soon, Sears mentioned the new apartment complex which is in its first year of the design stage. The $94 million apartment-style residence hall will be constructed on the current Dairy Barn Lot and construction is set to start in the summer of 2017.
For more information about residence halls or questions concerning Housing and Residential Life, visit https://housing.uri.edu/.