Photo Courtesy of https://www.wsc.edu/info/20026/residence_life/53/residence_halls/5
Residence Life’s announcement that Bowen hall will be shut down for the 2016-2017 academic year means there will be a lot of change in living arrangements for both first-year students and seniors.
With the recent news, many students must worry about their housing situation for next year. Bowen hall, the largest residential hall on campus, can occupy 445 students.
College Relations distributed an email recently that explained Residence Life’s plan to resolve the housing situation.
In select double-occupancy rooms, there will be a third bed added. All residents in these rooms will receive a 20 percent housing fee discount. Students will have an opportunity to choose this option to automatically receive the 20 percent discount.
“We are looking at select rooms we feel we can reasonably place a third bed temporarily,” Matt Weekley, Assistant Dean of Students, said.
The plan is to move all the students who live in those select rooms to a two- person room by the end of the first semester due to students that drop out or transfer.
“We do empathize that it will be an uncomfortable experience for some students at times.However, we fully expect that a vast majority of students in the fall to be in a place by the spring semester,” Weekley said.
To help make room available that they will need to reside off campus.
Exceptions will be given to those who receive a campus room waiver scholarship.
Students may request an exception by completing a housing exemption form that will be made available in March. No graduate students will be allowed to live on campus.
“We will consider each and every request from a student that might identify as a senior who has a housing scholarship or waiver. We are going to still provide them housing,” Weekly said. “However, we are going to ask our senior students to consider off-campus housing options. If they have a hardship, they can still turn in an application and make a request to live on campus.”
Exemption forms will be available in early March for seniors to apply for consideration to live on campus next year.
When selecting rooms on campus, students will be directed to certain dormitories according to their years on campus.
“We want to keep upperclassmen in Pile,” Weekley said. “Berry will be used by all first-year students, and I view Morey being all first-year students. Those two buildings should accommodate almost all our first-year students, while leaving Terrace, Anderson and Pile for upperclassmen.”
There will also be the consideration for medical needs when placing students.
“Due to a large medical need for air conditioning and Bowen being the largest dorm with AC, Neihardt will be more of a mix,” Weekly said.
The plan for the renovation is that Bowen will offer a different perception to students.
“From a perceptual view, Bowen is viewed as the ‘do not want to go there building’ across campus,” Weekly said. “One of the things we’ve always tried to advertise Bowen as is both for first years and upperclassmen.
“However, because of popularity or lack of it, it’s more of a first-year building. We want to bring back the spirit of having both upperclassmen and first years being able to thrive in Bowen.”
The plan is that all built-in furniture will be removed and movable furniture will be installed, AC window units will be removed and all rooms will be centrally air conditioned. Full ceiling-to-floor front windows will be installed in all the rooms, and center residential rooms will be transformed into a lounge space for studying and socializing.
Natural light will enter the half-floor lobbies. The ground floor will be completely renovated with increased space for pool tables, a fireplace and studying area. Also, bathrooms will be updated with more privacy and new finishes.
“We are optimistic that the temporary situation will work because one year of discomfort will create a much better experience for first years and upperclassman. Bowen hall is scheduled to be a number one destination for both,” Weekley said.