Though there won't be any raging parties at 10 Cleaveland St. this semester, student residents and visiting parents need not worry that the apartments are unsafe.
Director of Major Maintenance Programs Mike Veilleux said that the building is safe for occupation.
Veilleux said that after apartment residents voiced concerns to Residential Life "about the building being a bit flexible," an engineer was brought in last week to evaluate the situation. Though the engineer found that the building was structurally sound, he did recommend "making improvements to the framing underneath the first floor," as well as to "the fire escape handrail since it was a bit flimsy."
"I'm taking this seriously," said Veilleux. "Everything [the engineer] suggested was completed. Is the building safe? Yes."
Evaluation of the structural integrity of campus buildings is not part of standard maintenance checks.
"We do regular maintenance walk-through during the summer, during which we check for broken windows, leaky pipes, problems with electrical wiring, cracks in walls," Veilleux said. "We oftentimes assume a building is okay to start with."
It was the structural engineer who recommended the limitation on guests, since the building is lightly framed. "The apartments were constructed for single family living, but converted," Veilleux said. "Someone many years ago made the decision to house students in the building."
Director of Residential Life Mary Pat McMahon notified apartment residents of the situation by e-mail, writing that "each apartment in Cleaveland Street should limit visitors to no more than 3 or 4 guests at any given time." The numbers were decided upon by Veilleux, based on the engineer's recommendation.
Until last week, students were allowed to register parties at 10 Cleaveland St. However, Veilleux said, the building "wasn't built with [partying] in mind." It is unclear why Residential Life was never informed of the problem with the design of the apartments; when asked why the office was not previously told of the framing issue, Veilleux replied, "I'm not sure."
Tony Perry '09, who lives in a downstairs apartment, said of the announcement, "It struck me as pretty random. If there was an issue, then it was an issue at the beginning of the semester, and it was an issue during the summer."
"Generally, I usually feel safe," he said. "I never seriously considered my safety an issue. Besides, they pretty quickly made whatever changes they needed to."
Veilleux said that "this particular issue is prompting us to consider making inspections on other buildings." He stated that he preferred not to name any specific structures, but did say that he was concerned about certain "wood-framed buildings" on campus.
"But just because a building is wood-framed doesn't mean it is a concern," he added.
As for 10 Cleaveland St., Veilleux said, "We will be keeping an eye on the structure for the rest of the year. It's a safe building, we just need to create limitations to be conservative about safety."
"This is the first time we've received complaints," he added.