Wednesday, August 10, 2022

$11 million Shaw Hall renovation continues

August 23, 2001

After three years of residence hall living, Nick Gordon packed up his single room in Shaw Hall and moved off campus.

But he wasn’t happy about it.

“The dorms really appeal to me,” the general business and pre-law senior said. “I liked the location of where it was on campus. It was so convenient.”

Shaw Hall has been closed since the beginning of the summer, when $11 million renovations began on the 50-year-old building.

“It did need the renovation,” Gordon said. “Every week you’d have to change a fuse. It wasn’t equipped to handle what students coming in now have with their stereos and computers.”

But the improvements also displaced 800 residents.

Shaw Hall Manager Carol Noud said many of the students living in the hall are upperclassmen who would have moved off campus soon, regardless of the renovations.

All of the people employed in the hall were able to transfer to another hall, as well.

With the Shaw Hall parking ramp demolished, Noud said the renovations couldn’t have come at a better time - because the hall is closed, fewer staff members and students are looking for parking in the area.

“Most of the students were really understanding,” Noud said. “They had preference in getting into other halls. I think things will go really smoothly.”

The renovations include everything from new wiring to plumbing replacement to sprinkler installation.

Noud said most of the improvements will be made to areas that students won’t see, but she expects for others to be noticed - and appreciated.

“The bathrooms definitely needed a change,” Noud said. “It will be very comfortable for them. We’re getting modular, stackable furniture, and most of the students have been really positive about that.”

And even when the building changes aren’t visible, Mary Lou Heberlein, the complex manager for Mason, Abbot, Snyder and Phillips halls, said students notice.

Mason and Abbot halls were closed for a full year during the 1996-97 school year for renovations.

“The students love it,” Heberlein said. “Our plumbing was ready for a major failure at any time. Now we have whirlpool tubs.”

While many of the cafeterias around campus are preparing for increased traffic due to Shaw Hall’s closing, most residency problems have been solved.

Heberlein said residence halls around campus have been forced to cut down on the number of single rooms offered to make room for the students.

But, she says, leaving Shaw might be the hardest part.

“Shaw has a lot of folks whose mom and dad might have lived there,” she said. “It has a legacy. But the students living there knew it was coming.”

Even though Gordon is now living in a house with friends, he says he’ll miss the residence hall convenience, even if things are more cramped this year.

“My sister is going to be a freshman, and she’s stuck in a triple in Holden Hall,” he said. “They closed down the dorm and with enrollment numbers going up, there’s no place to put the incoming freshmen.

“It’s much harder to accept the fact that you have to leave after three years.”

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