“Grad. dorm smokin’, maybe not for long”

Brian White

University of Arizona Residence Life is considering banning smoking at La Aldea, a graduate student-housing complex on North Euclid Avenue.

La Aldea, 825 E. Fifth St., is the only building on campus where smoking is permitted inside. Residence Life is seeking feedback from the hall’s residents about the current smoking policy.

“”There is no smoking in any building on campus,”” said Patrick Call, Residence Life’s acting director. “”The only exception is La Aldea, and that is because it used to be managed privately.””

The UA purchased La Aldea from Ambling Companies two years ago after the Arizona Board of Regents approved a $21.9 million bond sell-off to take over the building’s lease.

Since then, property management has fallen into Residence Life’s hands, though it has yet to change the indoor smoking rules, Call said.

“”We are in talks right now to convert it to a non-smoking building to make it uniform with every other building.””

All residence halls undergo a cleaning process at least once a year, he said. La Aldea’s cleanup is usually more extensive because of the smoking policy and because of the longer leases tenants sign.

Sometimes carpet must be replaced and walls repainted in smoking rooms, said Jessica Holfman, La Aldea office manager.

“”The odor can still linger, and in certain cases, the carpet is damaged from burns or other stains,”” she said. “”The walls can get dingy, too.””

Although La Aldea does not require residents to pay a security deposit, management of the graduate housing complex does reserve the right to charge for damages.

New carpet costs about $400 per room, Holfman said. New paint depends on the circumstances, with La Aldea staff factoring labor and gallons of paint used into the costs.

However, regular shampooing and paint touch-ups are considered routine and are not charged for, Holfman added.

Smoking rooms are not segregated from non-smoking rooms, but La Aldea matches roommates according to preference, she said. The smoking rule can only be enforced if all roommates agree, she said.

There are 305 students living at La Aldea and it is unknown how many smoke inside, Holfman added.

At least one student is offended by smoking, but is not affected by La Aldea’s policy allowing it.

“”The smell of smoke bothers me, even if the person smokes outside,”” said Sommer Alduaimi, a first-year medical school student. “”As of now, the smoking policy doesn’t really bother me, though, because I personally am not affected.””