Keyland “KB” Burel, a first-year business major and resident of Esperanza Hall, called his new home “one of the nicest dorm rooms I’ve ever seen.”
After a fast year of construction, Texas A&M University-San Antonio expands its size with the addition of its new on-campus dorm rooms. Esperanza Hall opened its doors for incoming freshmen on Aug. 17, for the fall 2017 semester. The dorm currently houses nearly 280 new students, according to Alexis Ruiz, director and general manager.
The residence hall offers a variety of services for studying, fitness and leisure activities for all students living on campus. There are study and conference rooms on the third floor. The game room on the second floor offers a selection of arcade games, and a large television set for gamers to hook up their own consoles. The fitness center on the first floor is open for 24 hours as opposed to the other areas in the building.
During a tour of the facilities, Ruiz addressed some questions about maintaining a healthy and sanitary environment for its residents.
“We have a full-time housekeeper on staff,” Ruiz said, “that cleans every morning, then again during the day, and then she’ll do it again at night.”
Ruiz showed that every floor has its own laundry room for students, each one having six washers and dryers. She also stated that she’s never seen a line for laundry, so students have no excuse for not regularly washing their clothes and sheets during the flu season.
Ruiz also says that students are required to sign a lease agreement before moving in, part of which demands that students keep their own living spaces up to a certain standard of cleanliness.
“It’s great,” Burel said, when asked how he likes living in Esperanza Hall, “All the RA’s, Zoey, Ms. Carey, Alexis, those guys are great, they make sure all our needs are met.”
When asked if he feels that Esperanza Hall is a safe environment regarding health and sanitary issues, Burel expressed no worries on the matter.
Despite living at the well-equipped dorms, Burel said it comes with fines for not meeting room upkeep standards.
“Actually on the first week, they pulled us to the side and took us to the cafeteria,” Burel said, “They told us if our rooms are dirty, or if anything was unkempt, there would be a big fee.”
How much those fines are, remains unclear. Dorm residents interviewed by The Mesquite did not offer specific amounts. A spokeswoman that works for American Campus Communities, which built and manages the dorms, said the university imposes the fines. Jo Anna Benavides-Franke, Dean of Students, which oversees student housing, did not respond to an email inquiry.
Dorm staff perform walk-in inspections to make sure students are keeping their rooms neat and tidy. Burel said he isn’t worried about being fined because he’s more than tidy when it comes to his own living space.
“They’re not walking in whenever they feel like it,” Burel said. “They do tell us ‘Hey, there’s inspections,’ and if they do walk in and there’s trash everywhere then you will be fined. They let us know when inspection weeks are coming up, but you don’t know which rooms they’re gonna go through first.”
Jose Arredondo contributed to this story.