With the transformation of Baxter and Doney halls this summer, students who pledged to live off campus as upperclassmen may want to reconsider.
“We’ve got to use the center of campus for the students’ advantage,” says Jim Bauer, vice president for Planning, Facilities & External Affairs. “We want to create more rooms of higher quality that are attractive to juniors and seniors.”
The changes are planned, in part, because of the closing of Haseldorf Apartments this May. The building at 173 Cottage St. was constructed in 1928. Since Willamette purchased it in 1985, hundreds of juniors, seniors and graduate students have called it home.
Known and loved for its imitation crystal doorknobs, chandeliers and other quirky features, the building no longer functions efficiently. It lacks an elevator and suffers from persistent plumbing and electrical problems.
For those reasons, Willamette is decommissioning the building — at least for permanent student use. Plans for its future are pending.
“Haseldorf has just worn out,” Bauer says. “It’s a great building, and people love it, but its useful life has expired.”
To compensate for this loss of accommodation, the university is renovating and expanding other residence halls.
Doney — once shared with Campus Safety and Housing and Community Life — is being converted into an exclusive living space. It will feature double rooms with kitchenettes and private baths and a common area with a kitchen and dining room. Twenty-two new beds are being added, bringing the total occupancy to 224 residents.
Ten bedrooms are being added in Baxter, while several temporary rooms are being removed to accommodate a new elevator that will connect the entire building vertically. Other reconfigurations on each floor will also improve flow.
Next semester, students will be able to walk into Baxter Hall at any one of the three entry points to access the entire building. New lounges in each corner of each floor will create room for study areas, TV rooms, and food and entertainment spaces.
“The possibilities are endless,” Bauer says. “But the big thing, the main thing, is that everything will be connected. We’re creating a mega living and learning community.”