Campus / News / January 30, 2014

High-efficiency laundry comes at high cost

Freshman Casie Panganiban unloads her laundry from the new set of dryers in the basement of Sherwin/Neifert. (Jason Deschamps/TKS)

Freshman Casie Panganiban unloads her laundry from the new set of dryers in the basement of Sherwin/Neifert. (Jason Deschamps/TKS)

The recent switch of laundry machines to high-efficiency models has been cause for question on campus.

The new washers and dryers replaced models that may have been over 20 years old, according to Director of Facilities Scott Maust.

Student Senate first decided three years ago that they wanted to work towards new Energy Star machines that could use flex dollars =, but waited for the contract to finish out. According to Maust, the only way to get new laundry machines, change machines and the C-Board system that allows students to use flex dollars for laundry was to raise the price from 75 cents to $1.25.

This price increase was the major change to the new facilities. In addition, students must now use high-efficiency detergent in the new machines.

The investment in the equipment was reportedly over $400,000. According to Maust, 52 percent of the laundry revenue goes to maintenance, investment in the machines, profit and overhead. The other 48 percent goes to Student Development.

This dramatic increase in price was cause for concern for freshman Emily Roberts.

“I understand the value of more sustainable machines, but my biggest concern as a college student is paying for everything, and now I have to factor higher laundry costs into that,” Roberts said.

The changes also upset many students who, while aware of the price increase, expected better service from the new machines. One of the most common complaints among students is that the new dryers do not dry clothes completely.

Victor Schultz, a sophomore and the Campus Life Chair on Student Senate, said he has not personally had any problems with the dryers, but Student Senate is aware of the problem and is working on circulating information on what to do if students run into problems.

“I shot a few videos with freshman senator Po Liao showing how to best maximize space in the machines and showing how to use them properly,” Schultz said.

These videos can be seen on YouTube or the Knox Student Senate Facebook page.

“Maintenance is looking into student complaints that the dryers are leaving clothes damp,” Schultz said.

He recommends that students fill out a work order with facilities if the machines are not working properly.

“This update was necessary due to how inefficient the old washers were and how often they broke down, and although the new price is a detriment to students, once they get working, I believe students will prefer them over the old ones,” Schultz said.

Allie Whitehill

Tags:  dryers laundry Student Senate washing machines

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