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Rating the restrooms

Dark and scary to clean and airy, students weigh in on facilities

Numerous UNM students say they will do anything to avoid having to use the restrooms in Mitchell Hall, but the relatively new facilities in Dane Smith Hall got high marks for cleanliness and design.

Mitchell Hall topped most students' lists of worst bathrooms in an informal Daily Lobo poll Monday.

"Oh, downstairs in Mitchell, definitely" said Alex C de Baca, a computer science major studying in Dane Smith Hall. "They're not well kept, there's graffiti on the walls, half the time there's a urinal covered in plastic with tape all over it."

Computer science student Josh Bennett agreed.

"Mitchell is weird because you have to climb down into it," he said of the restroom's vault-like location.

Julia Toler, an education major, said she spends a lot of time in Mitchell Hall and can't stand the bathroom.

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"It's always out of toilet paper and paper towels," she said. "The toilets are never clean."

Jessica Mascarenas, a biology major, agreed.

"The doors are always broken and the toilets never work," she said. "It always seems dirty."

UNM elementary education student Bobbi Lafferty also agrees that Mitchell Hall wins the worst restroom award.

"All the doors are falling off the stalls," she said, adding that the toilets are constantly clogged and the soap containers are often empty. She said many of the toilets also are out of order.

"They have black plastic bags over the seats," she said.

Two toilets were out of order in the women's restroom in Mitchell Hall Monday. Three toilets were clogged with toilet paper and had not been flushed. All of the stalls had toilet paper and all of the soap containers had soap. Bits of toilet paper were scattered across the floor, and one of the trashcans was overflowing with crumpled paper towels.

Daniela Pons walked out of one of those stalls, which she also says are the worst at the University.

"Sometimes they don't flush or have toilet paper," she said.

The maintenance manager for Area Four, which includes Mitchell Hall, could not be reached for comment.

The restrooms on the ground floor of the Education Building came in at a close second. In the men's room Monday, the door to a wide stall was removed from its hinges and leaning on the floor. The toilet in that stall had no seat, only the bolts where the seat was once attached. Several large areas of tile on the wall had been vandalized and one sink faucet was stuck running.

"The men's room is just disgusting," Roasennawane Banks, a senior majoring in secondary education said. "Nothing flushes, you always see roaches, it's cramped - if someone's using the first urinal you can't walk past them. That restroom takes the cake."

Mascarenas said the weirdest campus bathroom is the women's restroom on the first floor of the Education Building. The bathroom has a stall with two toilets and one without a toilet.

"That's a little surprise when you go in there for the first time," she said.

She laughed and said the stall works well for girls who like to go to the restroom in groups.

UNM student Theresa Counts said she thought, "Do I need to be in here with a friend?" the first time she saw the double-toilet stall.

"It's kind of weird," Lafferty said of the toilet set. "It's not like anyone goes in there with two people to use them."

Ray Garcia, manager of Physical Plant Area Three, which includes the Education Building, said he wasn't aware of problems in the restrooms. He said he hadn't noticed the layout of the women's room but that the tandem toilets may have originally been separated.

"Maybe someone removed a partition," he said. "That happens sometimes, if a carpenter went over and a partition was damaged, maybe a new one's on order. It's been six months since I've been in there, but I don't remember seeing that."

He said he would check the condition of the restrooms Tuesday, adding that he had heard no complaints about the Education Building facilities other than the usual lack of hot water or plugged toilet. Restroom remodeling typically has to be funded through the University, he said. No bathrooms in Area Three are scheduled for remodeling.

Students mentioned numerous other uninviting campus restrooms.

"The basement of the Student Services Building - it's pretty dark in there," said Anthony Dimas, a junior majoring in criminology. "I'm always afraid something's going to bite me in the ass - that's the creepiest. It's like a cave in there."

Matt Traucht, a senior anthropology major, said he refrained from using the restrooms in Castetter Hall because there are no doors on the stalls.

"I don't know what man would use that," he said. "Certainly not this one."

The unisex restroom in Marron Hall also got a vote.

Media arts student Angela Marquez called it one of the worst and weirdest on campus and said it makes her feel uncomfortable. She said she decided not to use the bathroom the first time she walked in and thinks men and women should have separate facilities.

Marquez said she doesn't have a favorite campus bathroom.

"I really don't have one because they're not that good," she said.

Some students said they never use the bathrooms on campus.

"I've never been in a UNM bathroom in the two years I've gone here - it's too creepy," said Jason Pierce, a computer science major.

Despite the overwhelmingly negative response to public restrooms, a few students mentioned their favorite refuges from campus activities.

"The one next to the Clark Archives in the Anthropology Building - those are funky," said archeology major Rich Guay, touting the restroom's odd design, downward-slanted mirrors and low traffic. "But it does always smell bad in there, even if no one's in there."

Art studio sophomore Jeremiah Ritchie agreed.

"Those have cool urinals - they're old fashioned, like a bowl," he said.

Dane Smith Hall pulled in the most positive votes.

Pons, Mascarenas and C de Baca said they liked those facilities the best.

Jennifer Duncan, a psychology and pre-medical school major, agreed.

"There are bathrooms on every floor and there are so many stalls," she said. "It's just cleaner - very accessible."

Joel Straquadine, maintenance manager for Area One, which includes Dane Smith Hall, said he wasn't surprised.

"It is the most popular on campus right now, but it's clean 99 percent of the time," he said. "If you think about the west side of campus, there's no where else to go down there."

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