Over the summer, John Mabee Hall received a renovation. Most of the changes are improvements. The bright wooden doors present a much more cheerful environment than the dark purple they replace. The new sinks are quite nice. Also, having more control over the temperature makes for a much more comfortable room.
Overall, these changes make John Mabee Hall a much nicer place to live. However, the new window blinds and motion-sensor lights shouldn’t be used in any new projects.
During the day, the window blinds are very nice. They look better than the ones last year, and they’re easier to raise if one wants an open window.
However, at night there’s a problem. If the lights are on in a room, it’s very easy to see inside. The blinds make it difficult to see inside if one is viewing the window perpendicularly, but other angles hide very little, at least for the first floor.
Walking to one of John Mabee Hall’s entrances, it’s possible to see the way that furniture is arranged. If someone is in the room, one can see defining facial features if he’s close enough to the window. Through the blinds, I’ve seen one person wearing headphones.
If someone on the first floor is wanting to change with any degree of privacy after the sun sets, he’ll have to switch the lights off. Even on the second floor, he’d have to back away from the window.
In addition, the motion-sensors on the lights don’t work well, at least, not across the whole room. They’ve turned back on after my roommate rolled over in bed, but they only seem to recognize that I’m in the room when I’m within arms-length of the light switches. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to disable the motion sensors so that the lights stay on until I turn them off myself.
John Mabee residents were never instructed on how to control the settings on the lights, but after playing with them I discovered that one can change the duration for which they stay on by holding the button down. However, 20–30 minutes seems to be the maximum.
As a result, whenever my roommate is gone for a few hours, the lights turn off every 20–30 minutes. It’s rather distracting when one is studying for the lights to go off suddenly. If one is really focused on writing an essay, that focus is disrupted every time the lights turn themselves off.
Ideally, the blinds would be changed and the lighting would have the option of being on a sensor or not. However, I realize this costs money and John Mabee has just undergone an otherwise very beneficial renovation. It’s possible to live with these relatively minor inconveniences with curtains and a desk-lamp. Still, I don’t see a reason to extend these annoyances to any new construction or renovation projects.