The Student Services and Enrollment Management department is having preliminary talks about the future of Hamilton and Walton halls — and a complete demolition is not out of the question.
“I want to emphasize that these are very preliminary thoughts,” said Roger Thompson, the vice president for Student Services and Enrollment Management. “We don’t have some drawing or plan for what we’re going to do in there, but we’re certainly thinking about what it might look like and what we might do differently.”
Thompson brought the proposal to a Campus Planning Committee meeting on April 17 and perceived the group’s reaction to be positive.
“We need a lot more discussion with the president and others, but the first place to start was with the Campus Planning Committee because they represent the faculty, students and staff,” he said.
Hamilton and Walton dorms, which currently house 753 and 558 students respectively, were constructed in the late 1950s and ‘60s. At the moment, Thompson said there are no conversations around the future of other older dorms such as Carson.
Thompson said that the costs of repairing broken heating and cooling systems in the facilities may outweigh the cost of building new dorms.
Additionally, Thompson said that the 2021 World Track and Field Championships will put the world’s eyes on Eugene, and putting UO’s “best foot forward” plays a role in the conversation.
UO will host athletes on campus, but Thompson said that housing athletes is “completely secondary to what we do for our own students.”
Conrad Nielsen, a freshman environmental sciences major and Hamilton resident, said that although he is not living in Hamilton next year, he empathizes with the people who will have to live through the construction.
Andrew Rossete, a freshman studying business administration, said that he enjoys living in Walton Hall and didn’t know that the building was almost five decades old.
“I really like living in Walton,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of connections and the community is cool, but there’s a lot of noise during the night and that’s my only complaint. I don’t know if I’d like living in a new dorm because I feel like it may be too modern. I like Walton because you can’t tell how old it is.”
Thompson said that students would be involved in the conversation around the future of the facilities, adding that he has already received input from Student Services Advisory Board meetings.
“We’ve been doing our due diligence about what the project itself would look like, what are the things we would have to consider,” he said. “I’d like us to keep the process moving about what it could potentially become.”