Residents of The Dakota will lose one of their building’s most coveted features over winter break – washers and dryers in each room – three months after a dryer caught fire in the hall.
The University will remove laundry machines from each quad and triple in the sophomore residence hall starting next week, which University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said was “out of an abundance of caution and to maintain building safety.”
The Dakota’s first-floor laundry room will be expanded to six washers and six dryers, leaving just two other residence halls, South Hall and 1957 E Street, to offer free in-room laundry service.
Dakota residents learned about the machine removal Wednesday, though some students said they had known earlier, because facilities workers had already begun preparing to remove the machines in their rooms.
Sherrard said the University reviewed the hall’s washer and dryer system after the September fire, and “determined that the building is not configured for the optimal operation of units in individual rooms.”
The fire, which broke out in a fifth-floor room Sept. 11, caused $340,000 of damage, largely due to water soaking through lower floors. The incident, which inspectors called an accident, displaced 52 students for more than a week.
Residents can use the first-floor laundry machines at no cost for the rest of the academic year, but will incur charges starting next fall.
But some students said the University should provide more than free laundry for the rest of the year.
“I am paying a lot more to live in Dakota, and part of the reason I am paying that much is because we have our own washers and dryers,” Emadaldin Kassem said.
Rooms in The Dakota range from $11,200 to $13,400 for a year, a cost Kassem considers to include private laundry facilities. The room also includes dishwashers. Sherrard said the University will not refund students for housing costs after it removes the laundry machines.
Sophomore Jacqueline Rose, agrees with Kassem, and said it would be inconvenient to go down to the first floor to do laundry.
“I am paying a lot to live here, so for the University to remove the washers and dryers makes me furious,” Rose said. “I think that the people who were responsible for the fire should have them removed and not everyone else.”