Balcony railings at South Campus apartments have been repaired. Photo by Drew Favakeh.
DREW FAVAKEH | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Nearly a month after 18 South Campus apartment balcony doors were bolted shut because one railing collapsed, they have been unlocked.
The repairs are in response to an incident on Aug. 20 when a balcony railing fell while three residents were sitting on it. They believed it was safe to do so because they saw a form left in their unit by Butler maintenance earlier that day. Doug Morris, associate vice president of facilities, said in a previous email to the Butler Collegian that the form did not confirm the railing’s safety.
Dick Davis, manager of South Campus and preventative maintenance, oversaw the repairs of the railings. In an email to The Butler Collegian, Davis said the 18 South Campus balcony railings were repaired from Sept. 17 to Sept. 27.
In efforts to make the railings more stable, Davis wrote in an email that the railings were leveled, reinforced with pipe clamps and anchored to the walls.
Olivia Wagner, a South Campus apartment resident and junior marketing major, said she was bothered by the aesthetic of the plain wooden panel on the new railings.
“It looks like crap,” Wagner said. “It does look like crap. It looks like a cheap, easy fix. They didn’t even paint it. They didn’t paint it so it’s aesthetically-pleasing, it’s just a slab of wood. It still has the pencil marks on it, I could see ’em from here. I’ll deal with it for the rest of the year, but it looks like crap.”
Nick Hagen, a South Campus Apartment resident and junior health sciences major, said his balcony railing took the longest to repair because it had been the one to collapse on Aug. 20. Since Hagen’s balcony railing had eroded, maintenance laid fresh concrete down.
“This one was all cracked,” Hagen said, pointing to the middle bottom portion of the repaired railing. “There was a little stuff over there. If I just put this much effort [shakes balcony railing lightly] on the other one, it would probably swing. This one doesn’t. It’s good now.”
Wagner said she became aware that Butler maintenance was repairing her balcony because she saw people in bright green neon shirts in the parking lot sometime between Sep. 19 and Sep. 26. It was after class that she said she noticed her balcony was being repaired.
“[A male maintenance worker] saw me walk in and he goes, ‘I just want to let you know, we’re here to work on the balcony,’” Wagner said. “And I go, ‘oh no, I figured. It’s okay.”
In a separate email, Davis also said the residents were notified of the repair work. If the residents were not present, a maintenance key was used for entrance. After the repairs were made, residents were either notified in-person or by a note indicating that the work was completed.
Both Hagen and Wagner said they saw maintenance workers repair the balconies from through the room and from the ground. After the maintenance workers finished, the residents said they unbolted their balcony doors, and confirmed it was safe to use.
Kerry Cron, a South Campus apartment resident and senior strategic communication major, on the other hand, said she was not home when maintenance unbolted her balcony door. Instead, she said she saw a note, indicating her balcony was safe to use.
“Then we got a little note saying it was okay, and that we could go out there again,” Cron said. “So they did it individually, the maintenance people went room-to-room, gradually, it took a while.”