The Continued Rapid Decline In Fries Hall’s Infrastructure

Ceiling+pane+removed+due+to+leaks+in+Fries+146.

Nick Camejo.

Ceiling pane removed due to leaks in Fries 146.

Nick Camejo, Arts & Entertainment Editor

With many of The Gothic Times Staff being Media Arts students, we can’t help but wonder why yet another semester has started and the Media Arts building, Fries Hall, continues to fall apart.

Last spring, students were welcomed in Fries to tiles ripped from the floors and ceilings for repairs all semester which were finally completed over the summer. This semester, students are now dealing with fluctuating temperatures throughout the building, a problem which has affected Fries since at least Fall 2017 when I started as a Freshman.

At the end of September, Media Arts Professor Robert Albrecht stated, “It’s very hot and very uncomfortable for my students to concentrate. My office was like a sauna and it was so awful that I had to take off my shirt. I wish I had a thermostat to record it.”

The extreme heat in the rooms on the first and second floors is so bad, professors find themselves forced to leave their offices, having to open classroom doors, and run fans to alleviate the intolerable conditions to no avail. Making matters worse, the second-floor classrooms do not have windows.

With most Media Arts classes being two to three hours each, students are forced to sit in an unhealthy and oppressive environment. This also brings up potential health concerns since proper temperature and ventilation are not found anywhere throughout the building and are key elements in controlling the spread of illnesses such as colds, the flu, and let’s not forget COVID.

Temperature in Fries basement during a class in late-September.

Fries’ list of current maintenance issues also includes the basement, where many classes are held since it’s one of the largest rooms in the building. It’s absolutely freezing down there. Room 146, another one of the most spacious rooms, has great circulation and is one of the few rooms with windows. Unfortunately, whenever it rains heavily, the ceiling leaks. Classes need to be moved around last minute into other rooms that are either too hot or too cold.

“Without the fan upstairs, it’d be so hot, and sometimes I have to wear a sweater, and sometimes I don’t,” said senior Media Arts student, Ryan Morales. “You’ll never know how the room is going to be. every room is different.”

Another senior expressed their concerns with the conditions in Fries. They said, “As a Media Arts student, the crazy temperatures in the building make it really distracting to learn. In the basement, it’s hard to focus when you’re either freezing or fighting back sleep because of how cold it is in there. It is also ridiculous how every other room is hot too because we’re literally in the middle of sweater weather right now, but you’d never know that if you spent time in any of the upstairs rooms in Fries. I don’t know why it’s like this but something needs to be done.”

The question Media Arts students need answering immediately is when are all the ongoing problems going to be adequately addressed? Clearly, the Media Arts facilities are not given the same importance as others found on campus. In my four years as a student here, NJCU has seriously neglected its obligation of ensuring the Fries building, which houses thousands of dollars in media equipment, is in a properly acceptable and usable condition for students and faculty.

Students should be focusing on their studies and Professors on their lessons rather than have to worry about whether a room is going to be too cold, too hot, or leaking. While Fries Hall has serious issues, sadly the other older buildings are not without maintenance problems either. At this point, the buildings are competing with each other to see which has it the worst, with Fries securing that top spot. NJCU students deserve better and the Media Arts students should not stand for anything less.