For the last three years, the Clubhouse next to the student apartments has been a breeding ground for mosquitoes and roaches. The Phase 8 Clubhouse was a key feature in the Weeks of Welcome luau and a desired meeting location for various social clubs and Greek life organizations, but it is now a pale imitation of its pre-pandemic self. To many students, it was both a place of study and UTD’s heart of the party. To better serve the safety and integrity of the student body, Housing Operations began maintenance of the study lounge and pool. Thousands of students were repelled away from the Phase 8 Clubhouse before it fully shut down during the pandemic, where it has since become home to a broth of pollution and parasitic eggs.
Residents might have expected these fixes to occur during the pandemic, when many UTD construction projects took place, like the Pedestrian Promenade and Science Building. Construction for these projects formally concluded in 2021, which left a year-long period of absence from further construction and maintenance.
Trash and mud filled the bottom of the clubhouse pool until mid-September. Even when it was closed, the Clubhouse was consistently used as a marketing tool on the Housing website to attract new students, as if it was still open. A constant maintenance sign locked out students from using the area, with an email restating its closure. Housing Operations was unable to respond to inquiries about the construction.
“In order to complete the work,” Housing Operations said in a public email, ”the Phase 8 Clubhouse will be closed starting Friday 9/9 and will reopen when the construction has been completed. The parking spaces in front of the mailbox area and pool will be coned off for deliveries and construction vehicles.”
Formally, the Phase 8 Clubhouse wasn’t open to the student body even before this email, despite the claim that they are just now closing the Clubhouse again. This is the only University Village clubhouse to be shut down for maintenance and renovation. A turning point came in summer of 2022, when University Housing increased their housing rates to accommodate future labor expenses.
“Each year, the University evaluates potential rate increases for on-campus housing, taking into consideration such factors as labor expenses, utility rates and material supply costs. Currently, fall housing rates have been approved with a 3% increase from previous year’s rates,” said Matthew Grief, Associate Vice President-University Housing, in May.
The renovation project began on Sept. 9 with incremental progress. After twenty-one days, the pool area has been drained and is clear of the trash and debris that previously covered the tiled floors. Housing Operations’ preliminary work brings hope that residents will finally see an amenity that once played a key role in student life. In what has been nearly a month of silence since the start of the project, Operations provided one last comment on its status.
“We will provide updates on the work’s progress as they become available,” Housing Operations said.