Starting next fall, the college will have a new women’s residence on campus.
The new dorm will allow Whitley Residence, which was renovated this past summer, to become a men’s dorm. In addition, the college plans to start renovating Galloway Residence next summer. These projects are a continuation of the college’s goal to update much of its housing, following similar renovations in Simpson, McIntyre, Mauck, and Olds residences in recent years.
The new dorm for sophomore, junior, and senior women will be three stories high, with 55 beds and double rooms. It will also have community bathrooms with cubby spaces and changing rooms, a community lounge, a glassed-in study room with whiteboards, and a study balcony, according to Associate Dean of Women Rebekah Dell. Its coffee house, which will likely have booth-style seating, will be open to anyone on campus. The finished product will cost $3.2 million.
“This has actually been a conversation that we’ve been having for several years,” Dell said. “We’ve met with three or four student building committees to discuss what the students would want on campus if we built a new residence hall. It’s a very well-thought-out, comfortable living space.”
The new dorm, still unnamed, will feature an outdoor patio, situated between the dorm and the neighboring dorms, Benzing and Mauck. Dell said the patio could likely be used for musical events and other activities, such as an open mic night.
The new dorm will provide extra housing for many students who would otherwise have to live off-campus, according to Chief Administrative Officer Rich Péwé.
“We had around 60 sophomore men off-campus this year,” he said. “When you’re a sophomore, it’s better if you can be on campus, both for retention and the Hillsdale experience. So long-term, we’re increasing the number of men’s beds on campus by building this dorm.”
The Whitley renovations this summer cost $260,000, allowing for new blinds, windows, sinks, vanities, and new wood, tile, and carpet flooring. Renovators also painted the dorm in neutral grays and blues and refurbished the kitchen with new countertops and cabinets.The renovations began at the beginning of the summer and were completed by mid-August.
Resident Assistant Kirsi Eby ’18 said after a year of living in Whitley with stained carpet floors and bugs crawling in through the windows, she said she thought the place could use a “little TLC.”
“You could just tell it’s been around for a long time,” she said. “When everyone heard Whitley was getting renovated, everyone was like, ‘Oh, praise the Lord!’ and they were so excited.”
The Galloway renovations will be more extensive than those in Whitley. They will cost a total of $3.5 to $4 million and will be completed by June of 2019, according to Péwé. In addition to new study spaces and lounges, the dorm will get new plumbing, air conditioning, heating, lighting, electrical upgrades, dry wall, and bathrooms. The floor plans will also change in order to make them more consistent with other recently-renovated dorms like Simpson, McIntyre, and Mauck.
Dell said smaller projects like the Whitley renovations are handled by local contractors and the college’s maintenance facilities.
“It probably would not be wise of us to take on three to four projects at a time, both financially and staff-wise, as far as residence halls,” she said. “So we just have had an eye from the start to try and do one to two a year.”
For now, the women in Whitley are looking forward to enjoying their freshened space. Emily Rinaldi, a senior RA in Whitley, said she thinks her dorm’s renovations will bring the residents together.
“I think there will be greater community within the dorm,” she said. “It’s not that we lacked community at all; it just kind of makes the dorm cheerful and happy and more exciting to be in.”