MIAMI, Ok - NEO will renovate old dorms rather than build new ones for now. Flooding is persistent at the NEO campus in Miami. In the last year FEMA redefined the flood plain making it higher. That’s put the entire campus in the flood plain making new building extremely difficult. So, NEO is setting aside plans to build more new dorms and four old dorms will gradually get renovated.
We got a tour of a mock up of what renovated rooms will look like on Tuesday and our guide pointed out a short dresser under a bed. "Two drawers, but I mean that’s just extra storage. You can move it anywhere you want. You could even use it as a tv stand," explained Anna Turner. She’s a resident assistant in the NEO dorms and showed off the benefits of new modular furniture. New desks and wardrobes will replace built in ones that have been there since the 1950’s and 60’s.
Interim president Dr. Mark Rasor said, “They're just old. They're cinder block buildings. They have a lot of case goods that were built in. On either end you’ve got wardrobes, then you've got a desk. None of that can be moved.”
Hayden Long, a freshman staying in a dorm said, “The biggest thing is it’s dated, rickety, old. Renovations would make a nice touch on this place.”
Besides new furniture that will let students be creative, an even bigger change is adding individual heating and cooling units to each room.
Housing director Jim Rowland said, “Right now all it is, is on and off.”
Turner said residents often complain it’s too hot or too cold.
Rowland added, “Kids down here on first floor, when it starts getting cold want the heat on. They'll turn it full blast so the heat rises. The young ladies up top (third floor) complain a lot cause heat rises.”
NEO has Milligan hall with suite style rooms that was completed two years ago. It sits on raised elevation. That was before FEMA raised the flood plain. So any new construction would require permission to build and could mean moving dirt for higher elevation. The school’s opting to do renovations which will also be costly, but they'll do it overtime.
Dr. Rasor said, "We're gonna do about fifteen rooms at a time. The way these rooms are constructed, they run vertical. So, you’ve got two rooms, and then the second floor two rooms, third floor two rooms, you gotta work on those rooms as a unit."
It will cost 140 thousand dollars for each fifteen room unit renovation starting this fall. They’ll move through the four old dorm buildings as long as funding is available.
There are about 800 residential students but Dr. Rasor believes renovations will be a draw to prospective students
“Absolutely! When a student walks in and sees a renovated room, they're much more willing to come,” Dr. Rasor said.
Anna, back in the new room beamed, “I would love this room!” She even likes the flooring. “I just think it feels more homey.”
Right now all of NEO sits in a flood plain and officials say flooding is now more frequent and floodwaters stay around longer creating greater damage. It is something the city manager says could be solved.
On Wednesday KOAM’s Lisa Olliges talks with city officials about efforts to change how the Grand River Dam Authority controls lake releases in an effort to prevent future flooding.
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- Copyright 2019 by KOAMNewsNow KOAM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.