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Granted, they are afforable

April 26, 2011

By Cathy Cox, Guest Contribution

Regrettably, the Staff Opinion piece in the recent issue of the Enotah Echoes contained a number of factual errors that painted an overall unjustified picture of YHC’s decision to construct new student apartments.

First, the article suggested students had no input into the decision to build apartments. In fact, students were  consulted in surveys prior to design and construction of the apartments to gain a clearer insight into what students desired in a new addition to the residential options available on campus – and the units were designed with that feedback in mind.

Secondly, the article suggested that the College acted extravagantly, and wastefully, in putting granite countertops in the new apartments — but no one from the newspaper ever asked any College official to confirm this. The truth is that due to an anomaly in the commodities market in Georgia at the time of procurement for the Senior Village project, granite countertops ended up being approximately 25% less expensive than the Avonite countertops that were included in the Enotah Hall project (and that are included in long-term focused student housing projects all over the country).

The granite countertops avoid significant and costly maintenance issues that student housing facilities around the country face when forced to use solid surface or plastic laminate surfaces.  These types of surfaces require regular replacement, invoke end user complaints, and cause the depletion of project’s reserve funds, which YHC will be able to use to maintain and enhance other parts of the project.  Additionally, the granite countertops allowed YHC to use a very natural product, which is line with the overall campus commitment to sustainability in its new facilities.

Lastly, the bathroom vanities in the project will also be granite, in lieu of cultured marble (as in Enotah), due to the same decrease in commodity cost, which provides a significantly greater long-term focus on maintenance and overall cost to students for the project.  In generally, granite countertops are an investment that most institutions regret not making and the market realities allowed YHC to capitalize on its ability to include these in the project.

The article also said Winship is being closed because it is old and dated, but the fact is that Winship is only being closed because it is in the preferred location, along with the old gym/pool building, for construction of the new Campus Center which we hope will begin before the end of this year. The Campus Center will provide greatly expanded dining facilities for the campus, along with a new three-story library and all new student center to serve the entire campus.

We have tried to provide housing options for YHC students at a variety of price points, while adding new options that offer upperclassmen more privacy, independence and some separation from other residential halls on campus – all in response to student requests. We have also designed the new Campus Center, library and student center with student requests in mind – and it will provide far more group study spaces (indoor and outdoor), advanced technology, student organization work and meetings spaces, student government chambers, dining space that doubles the size of the campus restaurant, convenience store and café, 350-seat banquet room, and much, much more.

I hope that future articles concerning campus construction projects will rely on a more accurate recitation of the facts – I’m always available to get the right information to you!

Thanks for letting me add this clarification –

Sincerely,

Cathy Cox

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