The Hill dormitories interior renovation is set to begin May 2015. (Raye May | Photo Editor)
Students who live in the Hill dormitories are often plagued by problems, from technical issues to unsightly rooms.
Ward Taliaferro, sophomore in architecture, lived in the Hill’s Graves Hall during his freshman year.
“The paint in the rooms was chipping, there was mold in the showers, the power failed every now and then and, sometimes, the hallways smelled pretty bad too.” Taliaferro said. “The walls were thin so one loud neighbor was extremely audible. It was always hot and everyone always had their windows open and fans in their rooms.”
According to Taliaferro, however, the Hill did have one redeeming quality.
“The convenience and proximity to campus almost made everything worth it,” Taliaferro said. “It was quite the experience.”
Major renovations for the Hill will be taking place as soon as next year.
Jim Carroll, university architect, said he and his team have very long-term goals for the project.
“It is just time for the buildings to be renovated,” Carroll said. “We want these buildings to be around for a very long time, so we have to occasionally do some work on them.”
According to Carroll, there are a lot of changes that need to be made.
“The units themselves, the mechanical systems and most of the technical engineering systems are definitely in need of renovation,” Carroll said. “We will also be looking to clean up the interior, so we will be looking from an architectural perspective as well. It is a systemic renovation.”
According to Carroll, the renovation will also affect areas that were once used for Greek organizations.
“It will go through all the units, even the public spaces and the formerly used chapter rooms, which are on the ground floors.”
However, the renovations are expected to take at least a few years.
According to Bob Ritenbaugh, associate vice president for Auxiliary Services, this is because of a high on-campus housing demand, especially for freshmen.
“Unfortunately, we have to stretch it out,” Ritenbaugh said. “There is a real demand for housing for freshmen that first year. We do not have the luxury to just wipe out more than 300 beds per year because we need them for freshmen. We really need every bed to make sure we meet all of their needs.”
According to Ritenbaugh, the project will be completed in multiple phases.
“During each phase, we will take two or three buildings offline,” Ritenbaugh said.
Also included in the renovation is a popular student eatery.
“When the renovation is over, we will have renovated all the buildings in the Hill and Terrell Dining Hall.”
Ritenbaugh said he thinks all the hard work will pay off.
“We all understand the need for it,” Ritenbaugh said.
According to Ritenbaugh, the Hill’s renovation is long overdue.
“The last time the buildings were renovated was about 25 years ago, so it is something that is needed,” Ritenbaugh said. “We need to get those buildings up to a good standard.”
The project is set to begin immediately after students move out of the dorms for summer break.
“This academic year is when we will do some planning and testing of the issues we expect to encounter,” Ritenbaugh said.“So the first phase will start sometime in May after this year’s students move out.”