Next fall, a familiar building on campus will be no more. West Hall was deemed no longer safe enough to live in, and after a decision made by the Board of Trustees, the building will be torn down following the 2013-14 school year.
The residents of the current West Hall will be moved to the east side of campus into Hospers Hall. The women of Hospers will be moved to either Fern-Smith Hall or Stegenga Hall because of a decline in female enrollment.
West Hall was constructed in 1981 due to a rapidly increasing student population and at the time was never seen as anything more than temporary housing.
Although the building itself might not be seen as up-to-code, many of the dorm’s residents appreciate some of its features that the other residence halls on campus don’t have.
“I like how easy it is to be close to everyone in the layout of the building with the stairwell and seeing everyone in the lobby and hangout lounges on each floor,” said West Hall resident Josh Kester. “With Hospers, there will only be one lobby.”
“The building does have common water fountains, lounges with everyone facing inward, and it is very inter-connected as opposed to long hallways or suite style,” said West Hall resident Chris McLaughlin.
While one group of residents will see its home torn down, another will move out of a home with the fear of seeing close bonds and sisterhoods disappear.
“There are so many things that I am concerned about — ranging from personal apprehensions to the worry I have for Brittany Caffey, our residence director, in losing her position and her home in Hospers,” Allison Kuglin, resident assistant in Hospers, said. “However, I would say that the largest concern that has been on my mind lately is how the culture of our community will continue in the years ahead.”
West Hall, like Hospers, is known for its close-knit community. This is highlighted in the popular annual medieval battle in which many residents have participated. Although the building itself is going to disappear, many of West’s residents said that the community transcends beyond just the physical structure.
“My favorite part of West didn’t have to do with the actual building, it was the community, and it will always be like that,” McLaughlin said. “I hope the men can look at Hospers as a gift in the coming years and use their resources to stay close.”
The women of Hospers will face the opposite end of the spectrum.
“The Hospers community is tightly knit, but new material may cause us to unravel,” said Sarah Odom, a Hosper’s resident assistant. “We are a colorful bunch, but I worry that the community that we join won’t appreciate our colors for what they are, causing tension among us.”
A decision will be made later in the year to decide the future housing of the Hospers residents.