A Look Ahead Part 2: Residence halls to receive face lift

Reporter and Reporter

With summer a week away, renovations will take place in certain residence halls that need it, which intend to draw a higher number of students to a more appealing campus.

Harshman, McDonald and Kreischer halls will all be renovated in some way starting this summer.

“The Chapman and Dunbar side of Harshman right now is scheduled to be closed this school year,” said Sarah Waters, director of Residence Life. “Partly because the bed spaces aren’t all needed, and also because we are working on a master plan of ours to close Harshman. It is the next resident hall decided to be closed.”

As of now, there are no plans to reopen or renovate Harshman in the summer. They will close the entire residence hall leading up to a decision to either renovate or demolish the building.

“The plan for Harshman is to keep Chapman and Dunbar closed for this upcoming school year and sometime in the near future Anderson and Bromfield will close so the building can either be demolished or a major renovation can happen, but there is no set plan on what that will be,” Waters said.

She said their decision to renovate certain residence halls has taken many things into consideration.

Harshman has been identified as a building that people would like gone.

“It hasn’t had recent upgrades, it isn’t at a desirable location, which is why we are working towards getting all of our residential students out of Harshman,” Waters said.

When freshman Josh Weinsheimer heard that Harshman would close, he was thrilled.

“I was very happy to hear that the campus may be making improvements to Harshman or even closing it,” Weinsheimer said. “The dorms are inconveniently placed far away from most class buildings and the Union, so hearing about an update is a great way to make up for the annoyances.”

Weinsheimer said he hated how it lacked air-conditioning units in the rooms.

“During the beginning of the first semester, hot summer days were unbearably uncomfortable at times because there was no air conditioners,” he said.

Weinsheimer wasn’t the only student who thought it was time for a change.

Freshman Joe Hinde agrees that it’s time for Harshman to be taken down.

“Harshman bathrooms are gross, the rooms are small and it’s so far away, which sucks. There isn’t a good thing about living in Harshman, really,” Hinde said.

Hinde was happy to hear that it might close down for good but sad it didn’t happen earlier so he didn’t have to live there.

Like Harshman, Kreischer’s location is far, but it has a dining facility and the building itself has had more recent renovations made to it, which is why it isn’t first on the list.

“Kreischer will be getting a modest renovation, wireless Internet being added and a lighting upgrade as well as two new elevators,” Waters said.

The students are in mind when planning to fix these residence halls.

“We tried to figure out what it would take money-wise to make sure a building could keep running so we were very mindful of the student’s money of residence life and trying to invest what was best in the buildings so that students could have consistent living experiences,” Waters said.

Although plans for Harshman are not finalized, McDonald will be completely renovated.

“McDonald is a $9.3 million renovation. It is scheduled to begin this summer and will include the removal of all the built-in furniture in all the student bedrooms, new carpet and brand new furniture in the entire building,” Waters said. “With all that, there will also be an electrical and IT upgrade as well as the front desk in McDonald Hall is going to be relocated from the north wing to the east wing.”

She said that with the new Oaks dining hall placed near McDonald Hall, moving the front desk to a more visible and appealing location will better position the building to have a more obvious front entrance.

The McDonald renovation will be completed by August 2013 but the timing of each phase hasn’t been solidified.

“It’ll be significant work that will be scheduled for this summer and will be continued but it won’t interrupt students during the academic year,” Waters said. “Everything else will be finished by summer of 2013.”

Beginning this summer all residence halls will change all side entrances for emergency use only, making the main entrance the only open door in the building, according to an article in The BG News published March 26. This will be completed by the fall and will help security and safety for students living on campus, said Matt Bloomingdale, a hall director in Founders.