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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sellery residence hall facing challenges as renovation project continues

“After going into Witte once, Sellery just feels like an extremely downgraded version of that,” said Sellery resident and University of Wisconsin-Madison student, Riya Shah.

Just as students began unpacking for the beginning of the school year, the Sellery residence hall in the Southeast neighborhood already posed many frustrations for its residents. Complaints of slow elevators, black mold and stairwells are just a handful. 

Shah has become increasingly disappointed with the elevators, explaining that they are “very slow and all the numbers sometimes reset, so you’re just going up and it won’t stop unless you quickly put your key to get off at another level.”

Another resident, Marija Markovic, had the same concern, emphasizing that she feels “really uneasy” about the elevators and thinks that the need for a key to access the elevators is “a real hassle.”  

However, access to stairwells isn’t a much better alternative.

“[The stairs] don’t open from the outside and we can only exit from them,” said Sellery resident Scarlett Marruffo. “Since the elevators are so slow it gets really frustrating.”

A message sent out to all Sellery residents last Friday addressed the stairwell problem, among other concerns. 

“We ask all residents to enter the building through the main entrance. It is critical for the security of the building that outside entrances never be propped open by residents, and anyone observed doing this will be documented for discipline,” read the email. 

When asked about the bathrooms, Shah stated that “some days it doesn’t feel clean.” 

“It’s almost as if they’re not regularly cleaned,” continued Shah. “They have a lingering, unpleasant odor.”

Muffatto also stated that students have been experiencing breathing issues, and pointed to the rumors about black fungal mold as the cause. The message sent out by the university undermines this though. 

Citing the UW Environmental Health and Safety inspection performed, the university concluded that the suspected fungal growth was “not uncommon.” 

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“The temperature gradient leads to condensation, and an environment mold can grow within,” the university message continued, recommending that residents place a work order if they find any signs of dirt or debris within their AC unit. 

“We’re dedicated to providing a good experience for the residents,'' said Brendon Dybdhal, Director of Marketing & Communications for the Division of University Housing. “Sellery residents receive a $300 discount for the year and free use of the laundry facilities.”

For some, this perk — intended to offset any inconveniences associated with the renovation —  is lacking. 

“Why am I only paying $300 less … when Dejope mimics a full hotel and is basically the same price?” asked Markovic.

Dybdhal notes that a steam utility project is why residents and students alike have to detour around the construction and fencing near Sellery and East Campus Mall. Although UW Housing does not manage this project, he said that they “work closely with the contractors to limit construction hours and noise disruption and that the renovation is progressing ‘very well.’” 

“We’re working hard to maintain a comfortable, fun, supportive environment for the Sellery residents throughout the project,” Dybdahl emphasized. 

The Sellery Residence Hall renovation is expected to be finished in August of 2023. 

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