Dark, desolate with dripping water. Dim lights, no voices or signs of life present. Eerie silence fills the air. There’s a creaking noise somewhere. Is anyone there? Cold shadows hover in the rooms, hiding the unknown. Is this a deserted home in some isolated third world country? No, it is the Yuba College dormitory.
The dorms at Yuba College are in need of a number of renovations. Elizabeth Bowman, Campus Life Coordinator, has noted that at least $2 million is needed to make the renovations required to make living conditions secure. The Board of Trustees will determine if the money is available to lend, and essentially, determine the dorm’s fate. Since the rest of the college is in need of restoration, Bowman cannot count on getting the money to fix a place that holds a mere 18 students out of the 60 student maximum.
In the student lounge, on the left side when looking in, there is a softball-sized hole in the ceiling that drips water from an unknown source. The lighting is faint and poorly wired. The living spaces are not much bigger than a prison cell and the laundry room is undersized.
In a dorm room, there are two beds, two desks, an air conditioner/heating unit and a closet divided in half. Against one side of the wall is one bed. Sitting next to it is the air conditioner/heating unit. Then cramped next to that is the other bed. The room is small, not bigger than 9 by 11 feet. The bathroom is also tiny and shared by two dorm rooms. The single shower allows a student to make a slight 45 degree turn, but and the toilet area is no more spacious than a Port-A-Potty.
This year, there are three women and fifteen men living in the allotted spaces. For every two rooms, there is one bathroom. So that means that up to four girls have to share one shower and toilet everyday.
Since the dorms are independent of the college, not only would Bowman have to get approval from the college for any funding used for repairs, but she would have to get approval from the state to be allowed to spend college funding on a contractor. The source of the leak that is flowing from the large hole in the ceiling of the lounge is unknown, so in order to fix it, the contractor would have to remove and rebuild an entire section of the roof.
Electricity is another problem the students encounter. The muted lighting is terrible to read under, but it would cost a bundle to have the building rewired. As with the lounge ceiling repairs, Bowman has to get state approval, which could take up to several months. However, there are many more renovations that are needed if the dorms are to be kept up to par.
To live in the dorms, students must pay about $3,000 per semester, in addition to a cleaning and safety deposit. This amount is to be paid in four monthly payments. Three meals per day from the cafeteria are included in the hefty payment. Bowman said,” it’s mostly academy students that live here because the state picks up the bill.” There are currently no low income students living in the dorms, and there usually are not any due to the high price.
The students have been notified for the past eighteen months that the fate of the dorms has been looking dim. Most students have begun to make other living arrangements.
“They’re making plans to be self sufficient instead of living here at the dorms,” Bowman said. She said that the students don’t feel it’s a big deal loosing the dorms, since most of them are academy students who will be leaving the Yuba campus soon anyway.
Most likely, next year Yuba will no longer have its dorms.