Returning students may have noticed some changes to the Octavio Romero Student Apartments this year. About one-third of the apartments were updated with new furniture in June as part of an ongoing five-year plan to renovate campus residence spaces. 

Chad Coleman, director of housing and campus safety, said that the overall goal of the updates was to “create more flexibility for students to customize their rooms.” 

“The furniture we purchased for that space when it opened was better suited for larger residence hall rooms where students were sharing space,” he said. “Given that most rooms in Romero are designed for one person, we felt this option was better suited for the space.”

Once all of the furniture has been updated in the apartments ‒ the summer of 2023 is the current goal ‒ the old furniture will be moved to Yoder Residence Hall, where it will replace the built-in furniture in student rooms. 

Cynthia Good Kaufmann, interim director of facilities, was part of the re-furnishing process. 

“Sauder Furniture is our vendor of choice,” she said. “Their rep brought some samples last year and we asked for student and RD input. I also called two other colleges that had purchased the same furniture to see how they liked it.” 

Kaufmann is hopeful that the new furniture will cut down on wear and tear to the apartment walls. 

“Every summer, we spend quite a bit of time [and] money repairing and repainting damaged walls in the apartment bedrooms,” she said. 

The new furniture includes a bed that students can adjust to three different heights, a desk that hooks to the foot of the bed, and a dresser. 

Haley Kirkton, a senior social work major, says that the new furniture “takes up less space.” She is also a fan of the new adjustable beds, although she notes that they “shake like nobody’s business when you climb up the ladder.”

“I haven’t fallen yet,” she said, “but my Hydro Flask unfortunately has not been so lucky. It has fallen off my desk, which is attached to my bed, three times during the night.” 

Erica Gunden, a senior environmental science and English double major, appreciates how the furniture has given the apartments “a more spacious feel.” However, she’s less excited about the new “lack of drawer space.” 

“The dresser is fine for clothes,” she said, “but the desk is just a simple board and doesn’t have any drawer space attached for school supplies and miscellaneous items. Also, I keep accidentally pinching my fingers in the dresser drawers, but that may be my own fault, I’m not sure.”

Concerned readers can keep Kirkton’s Hydro Flask and Gunden’s fingers in their thoughts and prayers this week as students continue to adjust to the changes in apartment furniture.