Commons guard against vandalism

Brianne Fleming, Staff Writer

Like any other college apartment complex, Campus Commons experiences its share of vandalism problems.

Certain measures are being taken to ensure the complex continues to be a safe and suitable place to live for Pitt-Johnstown students.

Campus Commons maintenance worker Tom Patula deals with typical indoor damages such as holes in the walls and ceilings, broken doors and compromised kitchen floors.

“The last two years have been better,” said Patula.

Patula recently fixed a badly damaged stair railing in one of the buildings. Altogether, Patula said that he has replaced around 17,000 railing pickets that were broken.  This is around $400, 000 spent on substituting pickets.

Campus Commons managers have hired a security guard, and also installed cameras in the buildings last year.

Outside vandalism has been documented on these cameras.  People responsible are liable to pay for the repairs.

Campus Commons owner Rex McQuaide said he believes the damage is usually done by people who don’t live at the Commons.

“We have been giving information to the police for them to enforce things,” said McQuaide. “We are doing our part to prevent this from happening in the future.”

McQuaide said the consequences of vandalism sometimes have an effect on the Commons residents themselves.

“The people that rent these apartments are responsible for their belongings and also the people they have in their apartment.”

McQuaide said that finding the right security guard is an important issue. This person should be someone who is fair, he said.

“Our goal is to provide a wholesome, convenient and safe facility,” said McQuaide. “Kids are away from home and need to start acting in an adult-like manner.”

McQuade made it clear that they will continue to have a security system and do their part in minimizing vandalism.

“The best cure is enforcement,” said McQuade.

Campus Commons three-year resident, Erica Wiley, said she doesn’t think the Commons is really the way that people sometimes see it.

“A few people may have negative perceptions of the Commons’ atmosphere,” said Wiley, “but I don’t think that’s the case.”

Wiley said that sometimes parties get a little crazy and vandalism may occur, but that this is fairly typical for any college apartment complex.

“It’s really not out of control at all,” said Wiley. “I really enjoy living here, in a nice apartment with my own room.”

Both Patula and McQuaide said that, although Campus Commons is a pleasant place to live, it also needs to be taken care of by its residents and their visitors.