Gannon’s million-dollar baby causes problems for students

Welcome to North Hall – Gannon University’s Taj Mahal. You can live on the top floor, but don’t be surprised when you wake up with a wade pool in the morning after the roof leaks.

You can try getting into the building but you may have a better chance of hitting the lotto than your ID card working.

You can take a shower; just have running shoes on standby when the steam sets off the fire alarm.

And those aren’t even all the problems associated with the $17-million downtown diamond. Last week students were unable to drink, shower or cook after potential contamination and plumbing problems rendered the water useless until test results came back 36-48 hours later confirming its cleanliness.

Taj Mahal? You’d be lucky if it was better than some of the shanties in Hooverville.

The university compensated the students by providing each apartment suite with cases of water that’d last for three days while Student Living provided meals in the cafeteria.

The issue was solved last Wednesday after Gannon’s maintenance staff worked together with a private company on the problem. Some students were forced to shower in the Carneval Athletic Pavilion during the ordeal.

Talk about trauma.

The response that the university took was the correct one. It moved quickly to get it solved, alerted the students and kept the flow of information free.

However, that’s where sense ends and the twilight zone begins regarding North Hall. To borrow a phrase from Vince Lombardi, what the hell’s going on out there?

How is it that a brand new, multi-million dollar building has had so much wrong within six months of its opening? The hype surrounding North Hall was extreme. With a walk-in room in the Palumbo Center and live, streaming video of its construction, the new building was supposed to be the crown jewel of campus living. Now, however, it looks like they knocked down my beloved University Apartments to update them with a newer – and just as faulty – building.

But who do the bloody hands belong to – Gannon or the construction company? If it turns out to be those who spent the year constructing the five-story building, how is Gannon holding them accountable?

But is it Gannon’s fault? Did it rush construction so students could take up residence during the August move-in day and trade a job well done for a job done quickly?

Either way, one thing is painfully clear – this shouldn’t have happened. No way. No how. With Gannon aggressively planning a campus-wide update on the Rec Center, Library and the LCBA building, hopefully the university takes any mistakes in planning or monitoring the construction of North Hall and fixes them for the upcoming years.

But if it chooses to move forward with  haste, Gannon will have to start working on a three-word sign greeting those traveling onto the campus.

“Welcome to Hooverville.”


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