In the past few years, the College administration has been sweeping through campus, making renovations to dining locations, study areas and residence halls. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Norsworthy Hall will be renovated, costing approximately $10.25 million, according to David Muha, associate vice president for Communications, Marketing and Brand Management. The funds for the project will be drawn from the College’s Asset Renewal Plan reserve.
“The major concerns are that the systems outlined are beyond their useful life or nonexistent,” Muha said.
Among these concerns, Muha explained, are hazardous materials remediation, repairs to the walls, roof and foundation, waterproofing the foundation and replacing the underground stormwater system.
At the College, it is generally acknowledged that Norsworthy Hall is one of the least desirable buildings in which to live. Former residents of Norsworthy experienced the faults of the building, while others say it does not deserve the poor reputation it has widely received.
“Other than having a really small room — I was one of the smallest because I was next to the trash room — I didn’t have many problems with the building itself,” said sophomore mathematics major and ’12-’13 Norsworthy resident Ben Castor.
Some students found its location to be endearing as well.
“We had a corner room so we had two huge windows overlooking the lake, which was really nice,” said Kristin Dell’Armo, a senior special education and psychology double major who lived in Norsworthy during the ’11-’12 academic year.
While Norsworthy, which was built in the early 1930s, is “structurally sound,” “it is time to address some major needs in the building,” Muha said.
The College will additionally be replacing mechanical, electrical and plumbing fixtures, equipment and infrastructure, as well as adding emergency phones, security cameras and making necessary Americans with Disability Act (ADA) code upgrades. The College has made improvements to the building since its original construction, such as ADA improvements, roof and window replacements and adding a fire suppressions system, according to Muha.
Some former residents agree that it is time for updates, from temperature regulation to wheelchair accessibility inside. One of the hopeful changes to Norsworthy was removing the smell in the hallways from the carpets.
“Think crayon wax and a dirty musk mixed together,” sophomore biology major and ’12-’13 Norsworthy resident Patrick Gallagher said.
Castor added, “I think the carpets should be completely changed in the hallways because a lot, and I mean a lot, has happened to them just this past year. I can only imagine what they went through in all the years they were there.”
Norsworthy was once used for sophomore housing, but the construction and closing of Cromwell Hall in the 2012-2013 school year forced freshman honors students into Norsworthy. There are 155 students currently living in Norsworthy, and according to Muha, this number will not change after the renovations are completed. The project is expected to take 15 months to complete and the dorm will be reopened for the fall 2015 semester, according to Muha.
Although upperclassmen are not guaranteed an initial times lot like freshmen and sophomores, the College is confident that all applicants will receive on-campus housing. It is not yet clear how the temporary closing of Norsworthy will affect housing placements.
“It is yet too soon to determine the lottery cutoff,” Sean Stallings, executive director of Residential Education and Housing said. “However, I remain confident that we will be able to offer all wait-list applicants on-campus housing through our wait list management process, should there be a lottery cutoff.”
As one of the older buildings, the College’s long-term asset renewal plan deemed Norsworthy in need of renovations next. The plan outlines the necessity of replacement and renovation of different campus buildings as funding allows, according to Muha.
Although it is not the most coveted spot to live on-campus, former residents were able to find the silver lining in some of Norsworthy’s least charming assets.
“Although the carpets were not that clean, (they) provided a place for students to sit in the wide hall and bond with each other,” sophomore political science and history double major and ’12-’13 resident Michael Tobass said.
Even the aging architecture can be a boon.
“It was smaller, so I didn’t have to go up many flights of stairs to go anywhere,” Gallagher said. “You didn’t have to deal with Towers’ kids throwing up in the elevator. You didn’t even need to deal with elevators.”
Overall, the building’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Though renovations are universally acknowledged as necessary, students remember Norsworthy as an endearing part of their college experiences.
“We complained a lot about living in Nors, but it really wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be,” Dell’Armo said.