Derecho leaves Hawks Ridge rooms in disrepair, tenants experience dirty rooms

Cleaning at the Hawks Ridge apartments was not completed before student move-in due to the lasting effects from the derecho on Aug. 10. Some residents said they had dirty rooms and broken items.


Shivansh Ahuja

The apartments at Hawks Ridge are seen on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.

AJ McEnany, News Reporter

More than 350 students moved into the Hawks Ridge apartments on Aug. 16, and many claimed to find their rooms in a state of disrepair after the derecho that occurred on Aug. 10 halted cleaning.

Hawks Ridge tenant Grace Elser said she found dirty underwear in the closet, food still in the fridge, and mold all over the sink in her room.

“It was not cleaned,” Elser said. “There was hair and dust all over the floor. It was probably the nastiest thing I’ve ever walked into.”

Hawks Ridge Senior Vice President of Marketing and Leasing Jessica Nix said the storm affected turn, which is what staff refer to as a period of time between old tenants moving out and new tenants moving in.

“Not only did this storm cause roof damage and leaks, along with damage to the side paneling, its effects on turn were dramatic,” she said.

Because of the derecho’s damage and a staggered, socially distanced move-in process due to COVID-19, the cleaning process was delayed until after new students had already moved in, Nix said.

She added that some of the apartments the vendors cleaned were also deemed unsatisfactory by the staff, which means the vendors had to return to clean those.

Elser said she went to inspect her apartment to see if it was clean after she initially found it in disarray, and it was still not clean.

“We went back to talk to management, and they said they’d be there in a half hour and made us wait two hours,” Elser said. “The room didn’t end up being cleaned until about 7 p.m. that night. They didn’t follow through with what they said.”

Hawks Ridge tenant Robbi Boggess said her room was dusty, dirty, and had scuff marks everywhere.

“It looked like someone took a sneaker and slid it across every inch of the apartment building,” Boggess said. “I personally feel like Hawks Ridge is more concerned with their payment each month than the health and wellbeing of their residents.”

Elser and Boggess both said they experienced bad communication with management regarding cleaning and repairs.

“I think the apartments have a lot of potential, but they don’t portray it through,” Elser said.

Nix said the rooms that have already been deemed cleaned are addressed by a maintenance list.

“For a very short period after move in, we are focused on addressing the list of items inside units that need to be addressed,” Nix said. “After the initial requests have been taken care of, residents can submit a maintenance request whenever they need service.”

She added that the staff have been cleaning rooms since the move in, and taking care of all the maintenance requests. Post move-in, Nix said, they are up to date on all maintenance requests.

“The derecho storm, especially the timing of the storm, did impact our turn,” she said, “…which affected the move-in day experience, and created damage that we are now working though with our insurance and vendors to repair. We are very focused on working beyond all issues stemming from this historic storm, and look forward to building a positive resident experience for all of our students.”