Home away from home

Sara Haque and Karly Sacco
Editor in Chief and News Editor

Caption: Freshman Ondrak residents await the shuttle in front of the Rice Center to return to the Hyatt Hotel

Caption: Freshman Ondrak residents await the shuttle in front of the Rice Center to return to the Hyatt Hotel

Ondrak residents will be moving back in on Sunday, January 11, the day before the new semester begins. Currently, Ondrak residents are residing in the Hyatt hotel in Lisle because of the mold issue.

“At first, I was kind of mad. A lot of people were mad. Ondrak is so convenient and the Hyatt isn’t,” said Sam Schest, Ondrak resident.

Ondrak residents’ families have brought up their concerns about the residents now staying at the Hyatt throughout the entire semester.

“There are a few that have been unhappy with the situation and we’ve just been working with them and trying to respond the best and be able to meet their needs and address their concerns,” said Mercy Robb Executive Director of Marketing and Communications. “Resident’s life has been working feverishly to try and make some more accommodations available on campus.”

Some students do not have further information regarding reimbursements towards their tuitions.

“They haven’t told us,” said Brad Nolan, Ondrak resident.

The finances of the reconstruction are affecting the university. United Analytical Service is currently dealing with the reconstruction of the building.

“There has definitely been a financial impact. The university is covering the costs of the hotel accommodations at the Hyatt, transportation accommodations in addition to the environmental testing and evaluation that’s been going on plus the work to remediate the environmental concerns and the reconstruction that is going into the building,” said Robb.

“The men working on this were able to get all the furniture and such out on Friday, October 17,” said Thad Daniels, Director of Field Services at United Analytical Service.

“There is still more work to do. The environmental project actually started on Monday, October 20 and we are going to try to finish that project by working as efficiently and quickly as we can.”

The main focus of the reconstruction is the interior of the Ondrak building.

“Replacing existing features of the building, new toilets, new sinks, new showers and new plumbing. It’s really enhancing and replacing a lot of what was already there. The building has a good shell and a good structure,” said Robb.

“Our goal is to finish all of the environmental work, which includes pipe instillation in the next few weeks,” said Daniels.

Ondrak students had the choice of staying in the hotel or commuting from home. With a shuttle bus service available, some students choose to use their own vehicle.

“I do both, I try to save as much gas as I can,” said Schest.

Benedictine University is trying to create a campus-like environment for the students as well.

“We have established a dedicated study room with a printer, and I know student government {Student Senate} went last week, there’s a weekly meeting at the Hyatt for the students that are living there,” said Robb. “Student Senate came over with pizza and ice cream and had some social time. I know student life is working to have something similar each week.”

“The Hyatt has also made some food service arrangements, offering some discounted food options for the students that are there as well,” said Robb.

Although the university is providing the necessities, some students find the transition difficult.

“The rooms could be a little bit bigger, because we have 3 people to a room…two beds and a pull out couch, ”said Sam Schest.

The university and the Hyatt hotel are offering amenities to the students that they did not to have while living in Ondrak.

“Room service is very nice, once a week they take out the trash and make our beds, ” said Brad Nolan, Ondrak resident.

For further information regarding the updates of the Ondrak building, contact Student Life or check the BenU website.