Residence Life announced changes to housing that will affect six residence halls. Starting in the Fall 2020 semester, Village Building 2 will transition to a hybrid dorm for both freshmen and upperclassmen, Hall 16 will be a non-first-year hall, Hall 10 will be males only and Mays, North and South halls will no longer be used.

According to Director of Residence Life Winston Baker, the changes made to Village 2, Hall 16 and Hall 10 are meant to match the ratio of male and female students on campus.

“We need to have the flexibility to switch,” Baker said. “But right now, that’s what we’re planning; but in case our numbers change, then we’ll have to switch around.”

However, Baker said the changes to these three halls will not be permanent.

“In terms of assignment, nothing in assignment permanent,” Baker said. “This is what we have now, but again, it depends on the population change. We have to be flexible in our assignment.”

Baker said the cost to renovate Mays hall is too expensive for the building, which was built in 1950.

“That’s a 70-year-old building,” Baker said. “When you look in terms of renovation and upkeep, the money in it will be too much. We had looked into North and South, especially South, to renovate that building. That’s initially in terms of the cosmetics, not talking about the mechanical, we’re looking at $2.5 million.”

With mechanical renovations included, Baker said the costs would not be financially feasible. However, with the new residence hall being built behind Lumberjack Landing, available space is not a concern.

“The other aspect is that we always look at our housing occupancy and the best way to maximize space,” Carrie Charley, director of auxiliary services, said. “And all three of the buildings [North, South and Mays Hall] are not at full capacity, so that’s another thought, too. How could we maximize assignments so that we have a healthy program to where we can continue to use our housing revenue to put back into renovations of other buildings?”

The new residence hall is scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2021; and according to Charley, it is in its final design revision phase and will probably not break ground until the summer.

Of the three halls being closed, Mays Hall is the only one being demolished. Baker said North and South are being saved for overflow spaces, as needed.

“I can only tell you that Mays will be demolished; the other two are going to be basically in reserve,” Baker said. “We always have to take things slowly. For example, what if we got 2,000 more students that came in this fall, where do we put them? At least we have a place to put them. So, I think it’s going to be one building at a time and just start with Mays.”

When it comes time to select new housing assignments, the students in the closing halls will be given preferential choice, according to Baker.

Although it will be unavailable to students in the fall, there is no set timeline for Mays to be torn down.

Meredith Janning has worked on The Pine Log since her second semester at Stephen F. Austin. During her time at The Pine Log, Meredith has held the positions of staff writer and news editor.

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