Harshman demolition plan not solidified

Harshman

Harshman

The University’s oldest residence hall will see its 50th birthday next year despite years of tentative demolition plans.

“The plan is [ultimately] that Harshman will be the next residence hall to be demolished,” Director of Residence Life, Sarah Waters, said. “The plan for that still isn’t solidified.”

The Office of Residence Life has been working to solidify the plan for years with Capital Planning and Design. Each year, the group figures out the size of the incoming classes and how many buildings and beds will be needed.

Steve Krakoff, the associate vice president for Capital Planning and Campus Operations, said he hoped to have a demolition date set last year, but a date was never announced.

Instead, Residence Life announced plans for the 2013-2014 academic year to house approximately 600 residents in Anderson and Bromfield, two of four sections of Harshman. A third section, Chapman, will re-open from the 2014-2016 academic years to accommodate the number of Greek students whose housing will be demolished as part of the Greek Village project.

Waters said she does not know where the Greek students will be housed during the interim period, but she does know Harshman will remain open to accommodate for the numbers.

“It’s likely some of their housing will be there, but not all of it,” she said. “This September, we will let the Greek chapters all know where their interim housing will be.”

While school officials work behind the scenes to figure out bed counts and future office space, some incoming Harshman residents are focused on their experiences rather than their housing. Freshman Chey Moore said she is more afraid of making friends and being in a new environment than troubles with her housing situation.

“I was basically assigned to live there, but it doesn’t bother me,” Moore said.

Harshman is often used to compensate for demand, but Residence Life knows it cannot rely on the building forever.

Current drawings and various plans for the campus layout in the near future show Harshman being demolished, Waters said.

“The goal is to figure out an exit strategy,” Waters said. “Where do we house the 600 students if those plans do exist?”

The window for demolishing Harshman is the next three to five years, said Waters. The strategy gets complicated because Harshman is home to more than just dorm rooms.

Aside from dorm rooms the Admissions Systems, the Honors Program Office and Student Enrollment Communication Center are housed in Harshman.

“Those offices will need to be relocated,” Waters said.

Incoming freshman Samantha Black is excited for the new school year, but she isn’t nervous about the demolition.

“I can’t wait [for the upcoming semester],” Black said. “I’m mostly just anxious and ready for the next chapter of my life.”

Move-in day for incoming freshman students is August 24.