The upgrade in Earl Hall improves student’s privacy, gender equality
Earl Hall has been in operation since 1955 and recently got a $6 million makeover to improve students’ living experience.
Because of the disturbing amount of noise from the construction of Straub Hall, Earl Hall was closed down for one academic year. Spotting the opportunity, University of Oregon housing chose to bring the aged building back to action this fall.
Upon completion of the building, a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Sept. 4.
The total cost of the project sums to $6 million. According to Director of Housing Facilities Gus Lim, this dollar sign entails an upgraded fire protection system, an upgraded water line, private bathrooms, new furniture, some new electronic locks, as well as the repainting walls and restructuring flooring and lounges.
Among most importance according to students and Director of University Housing Michael Griffel, is the privacy in the bathrooms.
“The biggest change is the bathrooms. They used to be community bathrooms,” Griffel said. “All of that was taken out. Instead, we built three separated bathrooms, each of which has a toilet, a sink and a shower. It allows people to have a sense of privacy. It also allows us to assign men and women, or gender neutral. This really meets students’ needs.”
Resident Tyler Grosenick was also happy with the bathrooms.
“In terms of dorms I have been in, (Earl Hall) is definitely one of the nicer ones,” he said. “All the bathrooms are in surprisingly good shape, except after when people use it a lot. But I really appreciated that.”
The makeover has opened up 168 furnished rooms together with 53 gender inclusive bathrooms, and has become home to over 300 new students on campus.
Replaced by the old-style showers that are separated only by curtains, the new bathrooms are still gender inclusive, but provide students with different orientations and much more privacy. The renovation is the feedback of the gender equality request from students in the past, to have the communities with both men and women or gender neutral while living on campus, according to Griffel.
Resident Michael Ben-Menahem appreciates that the location has easy access to the UO Rec Center, and enjoys that the halls aren’t crowded.
“(Earl Hall) is small, not so many people live here,” he said. “Except for the fact that they don’t have paper towels in the bathroom, besides that everything is good.”
Resident Meg Crade agreed on the convenience of Earl Hall’s location and is satisfied with the private bathrooms, but can be somewhat disturbed with the loud construction nearby.
“(The construction) is very noisy, and my window is right on the construction site, so I always hear and see people through my windows,” Crade said. “But it’s not as bad as people make it out to be.”
Along with the remodeling project, Earl Hall also brought to life a new learning community called College of Business Residential Community. The program has a partnership with Lundquist College of Business whose purpose is to connect and help new students to have a sense of community while majoring in business.
Around three hundreds students are participating in the new learning community, Griffel said.
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