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Riverside Center: from portable to post box

by Sydney Rhodes

This summer, mail services relocated to portable buildings, while the Riverside Center on UT’s campus has been undergoing drastic renovations. On Monday, Oct. 8, mail services moved back into the Riverside Center and opened the new mailroom for students to access and receive their mail and packages.  

Mail services has made some significant changes to their newest office, including a new locker system where students can retrieve recent packages. The lockers feature a kiosk station where students can enter an eight-digit code that opens the locker box. The locker location and code are sent in a notification email that also informs students when a package has been received.

“We have received a lot of student comments on the locker system, and they have been very positive,” said mail services supervisor Kathy Fryer. “Using the lockers will have a huge impact on students who have had to wait in long lines trying to claim their items.”

Eight hundred and 27 lockers have been added to the new post office as well as a new customer services counter, where students will be assisted by a mail clerk who can obtain first class mail and large packages with a student ID present.

“The lockers are convenient because they save me time and I can get in and out of the post office easily,” said Jon Kaback, sophomore and marketing major. “I love that you don’t have to stand in line waiting for packages anymore.”

In addition, Mail Services has also eliminated the mailbox system and students will no longer be assigned to a mailbox and combination via spartanweb.  

“We did extensive research at other colleges and universities and found that we all have the same problem: Increased packages and a decline in first class mail,” said Fryer. “As such, we have moved to a new system for first class mail called high density mail. With the new system students will receive an email letting them know they have high density mail to pick up.”

The previous mailbox system at UT required students to remember their box number as well as a combination. With the elimination of mailboxes, it will now be one less password and number students have to remember at school, said Kaback. In addition, students will now be notified when paper mail is in for them, so that they won’t have to go out of their way to check the box.

Although the Mail Services office has opened and begun processing mail, the rest of the Riverside Center will remain under construction until the Winter of 2018. As of now, the Career Services office, Public Information office and language lab are scheduled to move into the building before before the 2019 Spring semester begins. The renovations will add an additional 20,000 square feet, leaving space for modernized classrooms and conference rooms in the state-of-the-art building.

Being located in the new building with construction still occurring, Fryer said the construction has not set mail services back in any way.

“The building contractor, Crossroads Construction, has been fabulous to work with, and their staff has been extremely helpful with any issue that have occurred during the move-in process,” said Fryer. “We have not come to any disagreements or issues.”

Julian Criscuolo, sophomore and business management major, said retrieving his package was easy to do.

“There was no line for the kiosk and it was nice to have everything I needed to get my package on a digital platform before I went to the office,” Criscuolo said. “I don’t mind not having mailboxes assigned to us anymore, I rarely get mail anyway, mostly just packages.”

Sydney Rhodes can be reached at sydney.rhodes@theminaretonline.com

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