Updated: Apr 19, 2022
Opened in 1968, Wright Hall is one of the five historic dorm halls on Belmont’s campus — but lately the building is showing its age.
Flooding, persistent plumbing problems and dirty air filters have become a normal occurrence for residents of the 54-year-old dorm.
And with a price tag of $3,310 per person per semester, student residents say the building’s ongoing maintenance issues this spring are not what they bargained for.
“Everyone’s kind of upset because we pay so much to live there and it’s just not meeting the bare minimum,” said Isabella Hipp, a freshman living on the fourth floor of Wright.
Though the older halls like Wright are less pristine, they’re priced lower than the newer residencies on campus, making them a more affordable alternative for students looking to save money on campus housing. Though Belmont offered a $200 refund to compensate for maintenance problems, students are not satisfied.
“The $200 in comparison to what’s happened is not a lot,” said Hipp.
Throughout Wright, electric fans lie out on the ground drying the hallway carpets, soaked from the last time it stormed.
The stairwell is lined with large garbage cans in an attempt to alleviate some of the flooding.
Trash cans for rainwater in the stairwell of Wright Hall. Lillie Burke / Belmont Vision
And when the hall isn’t flooding, the fire alarms are going off, said Kira Cotner, Hipp’s roommate.
“Our AC was clogged at the beginning of the year with two inches thick of dust,” said Cotner. “The fire alarm went off when we turned our heat on.”
An air filter in Wright Hall. Students say they are not being provided replacements. Lillie Burke / Belmont Vision
Aside from potential safety concerns, students in Wright also said the issues cause constant disruptions to their daily lives.
This semester alone, Cotner said the water has been shut off five times, usually with little to no notice.
“We’d have to go to other peoples’ houses to shower because it would be off for hours,” said Cotner, who recalled having to go to a senior friend’s house off campus early in the morning when the water was unexpectedly shut off.
And Tia Tricamo, a freshman living on the fourth floor of Wright, said this caused multiple disruptions to her academics.
“I would wake up and expect to be able to take a shower before class and they would say ‘we’re shutting the water off,’” said Tricamo.
Belmont’s Office of Communications confirmed there have been issues in the hall and attributed some to a hot water leak, according to a statement sent to The Vision.
“This issue has resulted in occasional water shut offs and decreased water pressure over the past several weeks. To acknowledge that inconvenience, every resident of the hall was given a $200 credit,” said the statement.
The statement also confirmed the issues with standing water in the stairwell during heavy rains, an issue facilities have tried to combat with “water diversion trenches.”
But despite their efforts, students are not impressed.
“It’s almost just a big joke now, which is so messed up,” said Tricamo.
Full statement from Belmont’s Office of Communication:
This semester Wright Hall has experienced a series of unrelated issues, the most significant being a hot water leak that our Facilities team is working to address. This issue has resulted in occasional water shut offs and decreased water pressure over the past several weeks. To acknowledge that inconvenience, every resident of the hall was given a $200 credit. There has also been some standing water in a stairwell due to sudden heavy rains, which Facilities is addressing with water diversion trenches. Belmont’s maintenance workers are responding to all issues as quickly as possible once they’re reported, though timelines this semester have been impacted more than normal by the supply chain and staffing shortages that are affecting companies and organizations across the country. Res Life and Facilities Management Services seek to provide the best possible living and learning experiences for Belmont students, and they are collaborating daily on any concerns that arise.
CORRECTION: Tia Tricamo lives on the fourth floor of Wright Hall. A previous version of this story stated that Tricamo lived on the second floor. Updated April 5 at 8:12 p.m.
PHOTO: An old A/C and heating unit in a Wright Hall dorm. Lillie Burke / Belmont Vision
This article was written by Connor Daryani and Lillie Burke.