On December 2, "Phase One" of new residence hall construction on campus began. The $87 million project first started with the removal of what students have dubbed Humpy Lumpy Lawn, where a new dining venue and welcome center will be erected.
The three-phase modernization project plans to replace Walton and Hamilton halls on campus. These two are of the most cost-effective student housing plans for students, with options for a double or triple room.
The first phase is expected to take more than a year to complete and will wrap up in August 2021. Until then, students can expect detours around Humpy Lumpy Lawn, and Agate Street will be closed to pedestrians on the east side.
Caroline Easton, a former resident of Hamilton Hall, said that she appreciated the sense of community and amenities in Hamilton. “I liked that food was always accessible and I loved how easy and fast it was to get to class,” she said.
Easton continued to say that putting money into a new and even more efficient housing facilities is essential to student success. “Funding the way students live is super important, as it contributes to physical and mental health.”
As far as disruption to residents, there will be “excavation and earthwork activities, equipment operation, and deliveries,” according to the latest update page. Loading dump trucks, excavators and powered tools will be running through the area from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Michael Griffel, the University of Oregon’s director for University Housing, said that the construction is necessary to continue student success for those living on-campus.
“The Hamilton and Walton Residence Halls Transformation project is one of many initiatives continuing to strengthen the undergraduate experience,” he said in an emailed statement. “Modern student housing facilities are designed to foster a diverse and inclusive communal engagement, and serve as a meeting space where students can make long-term social connections.”
Some students, though, feel a sense of nostalgia when they think about tearing down the old halls.
“It’s sad to see the inexpensive housing options being destroyed while tuition dollars rise rapidly,” said Sam Adams, another former resident. “I see this as a move by the university to take advantage of the live-on requirement and make even more money from incoming freshmen. I doubt they’ll be replaced with anything nearly as inexpensive.”
As far as safety or convenience issues with the building itself, Adams said that the only real concern he encountered was with sharing few showers with an entire floor of people.
Regarding affordability for students, Griffel said that there is a demand for lower cost rooms and the project will not be affecting that availability. The mix of newer and older halls with different amenities will give students a larger variety of buildings to choose from in terms of cost.
“The combination of legacy residence halls (Justice Bean, Earl, Carson, Riley) and new residence halls with some triple room occupancy spaces, currently meets and is projected to meet future student demand,” Griffel said. “Value and affordability are high priorities. The mixture/style of room types across all residence halls that will be in the University Housing inventory, once the new/replacement residence halls are constructed, are designed to be very consistent with student demand.”