We’ve talked about the Martinez Commons’ slight issues before, but the adventure of Sunday night wasn’t one of technical malfunction (at least not that we know of). At just past 1 a.m. residents of the new dorm were shaken from beds and pointless YouTube videos by an extremely loud and persistent fire alarm. They were shuffled out of the building in their sleepwear, congregating on Channing Way in a mass of confused college students. To top it all off, Berkeley had decided to rain. Lots of students only had tee-shirts and shorts to protect them from the lovely weather, while a lucky few had fuzzy pajamas. Anyone with flip-flops was guaranteed cold feet.

Rain waiting is no fun

A number of forewarned students brought umbrellas for everyone to huddle under, or at least everyone who could fit. Everyone else ran for cover at Crossroads, barging in on the winding down late night service or grouping under the small cover just atop its entrance. These were desperate kids. But hey, at least they got to bond with whoever they shared cover with. “Hi, I’m Bob. Nice to meet you. Thanks for standing an inch away from me so that I can read more »


The wonderment surrounding the recently constructed Maximino Martinez Commons has subsided, but we still thought we’d answer some lingering questions about how the new residence hall has turned out.
Martinez lobby
Walking in, a common reaction has been “It looks like a museum!” The weird angles and wood/steel combos definitely give credit to that idea. The lure of brand spanking new apartments is also something to chat about. But other than its new, pretty fixings, we’ve starting to wonder if this dorm is really all it’s cracked up to be.

There were already issues surrounding the bathrooms before students even moved in. The confusion over gender inclusive versus gender designated ones was an interesting, to say the least, topic fluttering about the halls towards the beginning of the semester. That got sorted out though, so no real harm done. Now what else still needs fixing around the place?

For two days in the beginning of September, heating was turned up to full blast to get it up and running, as to avoid kinks during colder weather. Ice cream was handed out and shorts were worn, so again there was no real inconvenience. But another morning, residents woke up to no electricity. No lights, no working fridge, no internet. That’s right, no in-room connection to Facebook for almost an entire day! It turns out the main power transformer failed and was disabled. Hours later that same night a generator was installed, restoring power to the studying inhabitants. But power tests remained, and a few hours of electricity were still missed while a temporary transformer was installed. The building is now up and running (Facebook is once again available), but not exactly on a permanent basis yet.

The Martinez Commons are clearly a work in progress. But in exchange for mattresses no one has slept on before, we suppose some concessions must be made. It still has a great location, beautiful courtyard, clean bathrooms, and is a half block away from “late night” at Crossroads. This slightly defective but shiny new student home promises future comfort to its residents, it’s just not exactly perfect yet.

Image source: Erum Khan, The Daily Californian