Clarion, Pa.- As the week of March 21 arrived, it became time for Clarion to say goodbye to Wilkinson and Nair Hall.
Soon after the dorms started to come down through demolition, the questions started to pop up: How long is this going to take? Why is the university tearing them down? How will this affect the students? Is this the best decision?
The demolition of Wilkinson officially began that week. If all goes well, Nair will begin to be torn down in about two weeks. Both buildings are expected to be completely gone within the next six to seven weeks.
All of this is happening at quite an accelerated rate, but along with the demolition, a lot of site work is required. According to Director of Auxiliary Operations G. Chad Thomas, “All the metal from the building will be removed and recycled. The concrete and brick will be crushed and act as fill for the new parking lot.”
Everyone at Clarion University knows that Wilkinson and Nair were old compared to many buildings on campus. Both Wilkinson and Nair were running on 45-year-old building systems, and on top of that, both roofs were in need of serious repair. The heating systems of the halls were also in need of a replacement.
It seemed that replacing these buildings was inevitable. Whether the new suites were the best option for students is still up for debate, but keeping Wilk and Nair running was not going to be a cost-effective solution.
Thomas said, “[Wilkinson and Nair] had the traditional communal bathrooms and showers, which students do not prefer. The new suites offer the private restrooms, they have much nicer study and lounge space, and they are air-conditioned.”
New suites are a more modernized housing option compared to the old dorms, and many students are really enjoying the new amenities. However, some will severely miss the dorm, however.
When asked how she felt, former Wilkinson resident Jasmine Hobson said, “I feel like it’s not just the building being torn down, it’s also tearing down the relationships that were built there. Nair and Wilk were built upon the concept of community, and I feel the new suites are just not Wilk and Nair; it’s just not the same.”
Hobson did touch on the fact that she felt the bathroom situation was better in the newer suites, but she still preferred living in Wilkinson.
Another topic of concern for students is cost. The Suites on Main are significantly more expensive to live in than the old dorms. This can be problematic to students from lower income households.
The building of the new suites has eliminated more affordable housing options on campus.
Thomas said, “The university is seeing no extra revenue from the new suites. The cost to stay in the suites is paying for the construction cost and upkeep of the building.”
Any opinions would be greatly appreciated, and may be sent through email to H.H.Nolan@eagle.clarion.edu.