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A Kitchen Up in Smoke

By Chris Cumella

A more detailed look at the K3-1 kitchen space. An additional lower cabinet replaces what would be the spot of an oven. (Photo by Chris Cumella)

A fire from two years ago left K3-1 and K3-4 as the only two apartments in the entire Neu without a kitchen. This situation has created both pros and cons for those who live there, even today.

“I just don’t understand why [Housing] never installed one,” said undeclared sophomore Sarah Meyers, who resides in K3-1. “I can use my meal plan, but it’s just not always convenient for me.”

Purchase is adamant on explaining the situation before students move in, as an email from the Office of Community Engagement states, “Reminder K 3-1 & K 3-4 do not have kitchen units due to the renovation that took place this semester. These two apartments are now a four-person apartment with two singles and a double bedroom, meal plan optional.”

Meyers explained the situation in her apartment more in-depth, and how it came to be that they would be residing in an apartment without a proper kitchen space. Having gathered her information from staff and friends alike, she said that there was supposedly a fire in the apartment that occurred in 2016. “I heard two years ago there were film students that were cooking, and something went wrong and it burned down, they probably don’t want to rebuild it if they think someone’s going to burn it down again.”

Having no kitchen in their apartment hasn’t made living on campus any more difficult for some, such as sophomore literature major Akira Collins, who resides with Meyers in K3-1. She said that moving into the apartment came with a very nice financial benefit for her.

“When I picked the single, I received an email saying the apartment doesn’t have a kitchen,” said Collins. “I asked the price and they said it’s about $500-$600 less.”

Collins and Meyers have alternative means of getting by with a kitchen-less apartment. Both explain how they and their housemates love to order in, and that each housemate pays a portion of the large meal they all end up sharing with one another. When going to food establishments on campus, they often buy food in bulk. By doing this, they can keep more food in their apartment to avoid having to make constant trips to the main plaza.

Collins, however, said that having a kitchen would give her access to make more healthier foods of her choice. “A lot of the food on campus is kind of greasy and has a lot of calories,” said Collins. “I sometimes wish I had a kitchen so that my weight wouldn’t be going up and down so much.”

Travel behind the K building and walk up the stairs, and you’ll come across K3-4, the second building in the entire Neu that is left without a kitchen. Despite not having one, the space is designed similarly to that of K3-1.

“I love to bake,” said liberal studies junior Tomer Shabo, resident of K3-4. “I knew going into this apartment that I wouldn’t be able to, but it makes me wish from time to time that I could.” Shabo is also on a meal plan and makes his regular stops at the hub to buy his food in bulk in order to not make as many trips to and from his apartment.

The reported fire that occurred in 2016 had begun in K3-1, and made its way up to K3-4, damaging both apartment spaces in the long run. When asked about the college’s renovation choices for the two apartments. Mario Rapetti, assistant dean of student life said, “When we were working with the contractors in designing the new spaces, the college decided to create some single bedrooms in these units since the Commons does not have any single rooms, create an ADA unit and try something different with creating some units without kitchens but are equipped with a heavy-duty convention unit.”

Despite these two apartments in the Neu being the only ones without ovens or stoves available, residents there have tried making the best of their living situations. Instead of a kitchen, K3-1 and K3-4 have much more open living spaces, granting them two bathrooms, a double and two single bedrooms. Their common space is the same as most other residents, as well as what would be their kitchen space, which happens to be an extended counter top with refurbished cabinets. These renovations made to the apartments post-fire came at the unfortunate price that no stove or oven would be permitted to residents there for years to come.

“You get an apartment on campus for the first time and they just leave the kitchen out of it,” said Shabo. “I hope whoever takes this place next swallows that information better than I did.”



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