Barnhardt residence hall has drawn ire from many students at Queens.
“It might need a renovation. The building’s still in good condition, but not in the best condition it could be,” said Ramiro Santiago, a freshman who lives in Barnhardt.
One of the few residence halls on campus with triple and quad rooms, Barnhardt was built in 1965 in honor of the Barnhardt marriage. It is located on the south side of Wellesley and its location is somewhat isolated from the rest of campus.
A sister building with Albright residence hall, Barnhardt did not undergo the same renovation that Albright did in 2017 due to fewer students living there.
One of the biggest issues that Barnhardt students face, particularly on the second and third floor, is the high level of humidity. Freshman Vincenza McEvoy moved to Belk Residence Hall as a result of an illness that she believed was the result of mold growing in her room.
“I was not comfortable living there anymore,” said McEvoy, who complained of a nagging runny nose and tight chest. “I saw [mold] on my wall and also on my corkboard in between the papers that I had up. My roommate had a bag in her storage space and there was mold all over her bag as well.”
According to Director of Residence Life & Housing Kayla George, the high humidity in Barnhardt was at least partially due to the extreme weather Charlotte has faced this year, with both Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence passing through last fall. Barnhardt is simply not modern enough to fully cope with such unusual weather conditions.
“There is no HVAC in the hallways,” said George. “When you have windows open, it just sucks in moisture. The window units, students will crank those down as low as they can possibly go. So really, really cold air coming from a window unit mixed with warm wet air coming from outside, it’s not a good environment for mildew.”
Santiago, who keeps his windows closed, has not had any issues with mold in his room as a result of humidity or otherwise.
Along with her illness, McEvoy was disappointed with Queens’ response to her situation. She felt not enough of an effort was made to improve her room conditions, nor was she given enough validity in regards to her request to move buildings.
“They didn’t really do much about it, my clothes and my bedding was damp, I felt like it was kinda blown off,” she said. “I was able to move out of the room but only because I had a friend in Belk who had an open room.”
According to McEvoy, Queens attempted to dehumidify Barnhardt but failed. She thought that this could be due to the building’s age.
With all these issues apparently coming to a boiling point, there are inevitably questions surrounding Barnhardt’s future. When Hurricane Michael came around, some students gleefully joked about hopes that a tree would flatten Barnhardt into the ground.
George is hoping to give Barnhardt a renovation similar to the one Albright received, but said the necessary funds are not in place at the moment.
“I don’t there would be a more excited person on campus than me if this building got the green light for renovation, but that’s in the future.”