July 22, 2018 | ° F

Livingston Plaza opens, lacks retail facilities

Photo by Nelson Morales |

The new Livingston Plaza, which houses three apartment buildings and retail spaces, opens just in time for student move-in.

Correction: A previous version of this story misattributed Steve Dubiago, director of Housing and Residence Life facilities, with saying that final details like minor spackling still need to be finished in the Livingston apartment buildings. This information is based on reporter observation.

Students moved into the newly finished Livingston apartments Thursday to find a more-than-1,500-bed complex that still houses some scraps left behind from construction.

Linnea Ponczek, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore, said she was very content with the apartments, but noticed a lot seemed out of place.

“I was extremely happy with the size of the rooms and the kitchen,” she said. “But then you start to look at the little things.”

Ponczek said one of her cabinets had a crack running down the middle and that a piece of sheetrock was left in the shower.

The walls had also been painted after the floors were done, which Ponczek said was made evident by drops of white paint on the hardwood flooring.

“I mean, I know you can’t expect perfection, but it was very dirty and I didn’t expect things to be broken,” she said.

Ponczek said a windowpane in the main lounge was cracked.

The final details still need to be finished in the buildings, such as minor spackling and the affixation of permanent signs in certain areas.

But Steve Dubiago, director of Housing and Residence Life Facilities called the apartments “fabulous” and said their opening was exciting.

“The dedication and hard work of many staff has been appreciated and is recognized,” he said. “Departmental partnerships amongst Housing and Residence Life Facilities, Utilities, Public Safety, Code Enforcement and OIT contributed to this upcoming opening.”

Dubiago said that a single unit is much like a mid-sized apartment and comfortably accommodates four students.

“The units are apartment-style, the most common consisting of four single bedrooms supported with a kitchen, living room and two bathrooms,” he said.

Dubiago said the complex would include a number of amenities ranging from a computer lab to 31,000 square feet of retail stores.

He said there would also be a diner and movie theater within the complex.

These attractions will open throughout the 2012-2013 school year to students University-wide.

Dubiago said much of the additional establishments will be contained in a plaza on the exterior of the complex.

“A large outdoor plaza is present, which serves as a beneficial attribute to the residence hall, the retail spaces and the campus,” he said.

While the retail spaces are set to include a Starbucks, Qdoba and other familiar names, they are not yet finished, Dubiago said.

Walkways and outdoor areas were designed around the plaza to “attract and conduce pedestrian activity and socialization,” he said.

Dubiago also said there would be a number of other additions available exclusively to the residents in the halls.

“Inside the residence hall, large social and programming lounges, recreation and fitness spaces, and teaching kitchens will be available for residents to use,” he said.

John Cierpial, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said he loves the apartments, but noticed a faulty circuit breaker in his room after moving in.

“My apartment has a circuit breaker that pops whenever the lights over the sink are turned on,” he said. “It sounds like a potential fire hazard.”

Cierpial said he was concerned about the breaker so he alerted Housing and Residence Life on Aug. 28.

Two Housing office employees agreed that it was a possible hazard and said they would put a work order in for the room, Cierpial said.

Cierpial’s roommate, Joe Komosinski, said that as of Aug. 30, no one from the department has been by to inspect the circuit breaker.

Cierpial said he thinks the botched electrical work is “quite possibly” the result of a rushed job.

“It seems to be faulty wiring causing the circuit breaker to trip,” he said. “Had [the electricians] not been in a rush to finish, they would have taken the time to test their work.”

Albert DeSanto, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said he had no complaints about the new apartments.

“The entire complex looks futuristic on the outside and reminds me of a hotel on the inside,” he said.

DeSanto said that the online tour of the apartment does not do it justice — it is something to see in person.

“Overall, I think Rutgers is moving in the right direction development-wise, and hopefully they will continue with this vision that they have,” he said.

By Adam Uzialko

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