Two weeks ago on Morgantown Matters I looked at the unpleasant conditions many students face when living in older apartments and houses in the downtown area. But in some cases, students are experiencing adverse living conditions in the University’s own residence halls.
It seems as if WVU is choosing to use their money to build more properties rather than update the ones they already have.
Out of the 10 residence halls on campus (not including the International House), seven were constructed before 1970. The remaining three have been built since 2006, with Honors Hall located on the Downtown campus and Lincoln and the newly-finished Oakland Hall on Evansdale.
And while some of these older dorms don’t have as many problems, several are starting to see the effects of years of housing college students with minimal updates.
Rae Manning, a psychology major, lived in Dadisman Hall her freshman year, a popular choice for those students wishing to live downtown. Dadisman is also one of the oldest dorms on campus.
“Dadisman was really gross,” Manning says, “It often smelled like vomit and urine, especially after the weekend. And the spin cycle on some of the washing machines didn’t work, so my clothes would come out of the wash dripping wet. And then some of the dryers didn’t even have heat.”
Manning says that everything was in need of an update, even the bathrooms.
“The toilets were old and small, and the shower walls were flimsy,” she says, “It just wasn’t a great environment to try and get ready in in the mornings.”
“There was no air conditioning, and the heat only had two settings–sweating or no heat at all. We had to keep one window open almost all through the winter to be comfortable,” Manning adds.
So with living conditions like these, why isn’t the University choosing to update current dorms rather than start from scratch and build new ones?
It’s mainly in part with their plan to expand across the board. They’ve completed countless projects in the four years I’ve been a student here–the art museum, Evansdale Crossing, U Place, the new Student Health and CPASS building, and several buildings on the Evansdale campus. They’re even working on updating the PRT. So why not just add a few more dorms in the mix too?
In an Student Housing Master Plan published in 2012, the University revealed plans to renovate Towers starting in 2016, but no other renovations are planned for the ten-year span. So unless something happens, no downtown campus dorms will be updated until after 2022.
Jenna Clements, a senior exercise physiology major, disagrees with the University’s plan.
“It’s a shame that they prioritize expanding the area while places with perfect locations on campus are rotting when just some routine maintenance would keep them in fine shape,” Clements says, “I absolutely believe they need to prioritize keeping up the dorms that are already here before continuing to expand.”