Dodge Hall gets a facelift

In effort to improve campus living, the 2019 bicentennial plan has renovated one dorm building each year. For the summer of 2013, Dodge Hall is getting a facelift.

  “So far we have renovated Gerard Hall, Ransom Hall, and Wilson Hall over the past three summers,” said David Magida, director of facility operations. “Literally the day after commencement, we get to work on the building.”

The process is incredibly intense. The job has to be done over the summer, with no exceptions, because there is not enough living space to be without one dorm building.

Dodge Hall currently from the back side. (Arielle Eaton Photo)

Dodge Hall currently from the back side. (Arielle Eaton Photo)

“There is no wiggle room with the deadlines” Magida said. “Students are coming back in the fall and they are not going to be sleeping outside; we simply have to get this done on time.”

Magida claims the Dodge Hall renovation will be the biggest project they have undertaken to date because there are a lot of unique modifications that need to be made to the building. With special repairs to the flooring and other aspects, the entire production will cost around $2.2 million.

While the dorm renovations are very expensive, Magida said that the high costs for better quality will save money in the future. “We are using the highest quality products so that they will last a long time and when we do have to fix things, it will only be minor repairs.”

Dodge hall has acted as a freshman barracks since civilian students moved off of the upper parade ground. After this year, problems arose when the bathroom facilities did not cater to such a large number of rooks per deck. In order to ease this conflict the yearly renovations now include remodeling and expansions of the bathrooms. While repairs will need to be made in the years to come, there will be no need to expand the bathrooms drastically, Magida said.

Recent events stemming from limited bathroom facilities have ended in sexual harassment investigations, as unfortunate as they are, should be taken into account as the buildings are renovated. Making the bathrooms larger is a good way to avoid any mishaps.

With dozens of rooks needing to shower in a short time frame through most of the rook year, recent events have ended in sexual harassment investigations. These issues should be taken into account as the buildings are being renovated, said Cullen Maher, a 21-year-old rook platoon sergeant, studies in war and peace major from Dallas, Texas.

“The designs for the building renovations took place well before any sort of sexual harassment charges were laid down to incidents in the bathrooms,” Magida said. “However, it is standard protocol that all modern bathrooms now will be made larger and with individualized showers.”

“The renovation will include upgrades to the safety systems, new furniture, finishing the walls to avoid the concrete look, and equip the whole building with nice and attractive features,” Magida said. “This process is very intensive and it is not uncommon to have forty guys working at once.”

“In the last few years we have made some major upgrades to the buildings,” Magida said. “However, due to the overcrowding problem, the lounges have had to be utilized to house students.”

The current student lounge in Dodge Hall. (Thomas Carson Photo)

The current student lounge in Dodge Hall. (Thomas Carson Photo)

For Maher, the renovations to the buildings have been very nice so far, but he is concerned with the overcrowding problem. “We have students living in these new, beautiful dormitories while others are stuck living off campus.”

“The president and everyone in his administration are well aware that there is an overcrowding problem and there has been a strong commitment to fix it,” Magida said. “The plan is to build two more dormitories by 2019.”

At this point, the administration cannot predict whether the buildings will be used for corps or civilian students. The concern is more about housing stock in general and the buildings will be filled with whoever needs housing at any given point.

While students can expect nicer dorms, some students, such as Goose Johnson, 22, an international studies major from Aura, Ohio, are worried that the buildings will be severely vandalized.

“The things I have seen in these dormitories are ridiculous,” Johnson said. “These barracks get trashed on the weekends. I have seen stairway flooring ripped out, windows smashed, white boards ripped down, and let’s not even talk about how vulgar the bathrooms can be!”

Goose associates the vandalism with excessive drinking. “When students drink on campus, they have no regard for the barracks or other people’s things.”

While some students think that they’re barracks are being trashed, others, such as Magida, assure students that compared to other colleges, damage to Norwich dorms is minimal.

“We have good kids,” Magida said, “for the most part, students respect their dormitories. If there are damages to the buildings, Norwich students will do something about it, whereas students from other schools just accept it as standard dorm life.”

One of the hallways inside Dodge Hall. (Thomas Carson Photo)

One of the hallways inside Dodge Hall. (Thomas Carson Photo)

Patrick Randall, 22, a criminal justice major from Derry, N.H., said “I’ve been to a lot of other campuses and Norwich has by far the highest living standard. I think that students here often forget that they have really nice living quarters.”

Magida also said that when the dorms are fixed up, people are less likely to break things or mistreat the buildings. “Students want nice things,” he said, “if the dorms are really nice, they are much less likely to destroy them.”

Both the corps and civilian dorms are made to the same standard. At this point all newly renovated buildings are equipped with the nicest furnishing, lounges, televisions, and availability for pool and foosball tables.

“I often hear corps students saying that South Hall (the new civilian dorm building) is much nicer than corps building,” Randall said. “I lived there for a small period of time and I can attest that this just isn’t the case at all.”

Although some of the students may mistreat the buildings, Magida assures members of the Norwich community that the school is doing everything it can to create the nic

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