BW Begins North Hall Facelift

On October 7, Baldwin Wallace University sent an email to all students confirming the renovation of one of the oldest Residencial Halls in the north quad, North Hall. The plan is to have the renovations done by August 2022. Kerry Mullen, associate director of residence life, described North Hall’s current state as “lacking some of the basic amenities [students] expect when they come to school.”   

 Residence Life reached out to students who chose North Hall for this Fall semester and notified them of the planned renovation. These students were transferred to other halls, such as Constitution and Heritage Hall. The demolition of several areas in the hall started in October.   

 Few returning students chose North Hall during housing selection, making it possible for the renovation to begin this fall semester.   

 “So the fact that this was empty, it allowed us to kind of move this project forward a little faster,” Mullen said. “North Hall needs a little bit more work than some of the other halls.”   

 The North Hall renovation is a part of a broader three-to five year housing plan with the objective to renovate all residence halls. Timeka Rashid, vice president of student affairs, explained that Residence Life and Commuter Services, two of the eight departments under Student Affairs, are overseeing the renovation of North Hall.  

 “We have direct contact with [Residence Life] along with Buildings and Grounds,” Rashid said. “And off-campus with vendors, like our architectural firm.”  

 Mullen explained that student input has been gathered from focus groups in which students were asked which different amenities they desired in residences halls. The surveys showed that students wanted more private bathrooms, air conditioning, apartment-like layouts, and bigger lounges for studying and socializing. Residence life is currently sending out more surveys to all current BW students to gather more information on what ideas students have about residence halls.   

 The renovated North Hall will create a closer residence for science, technology, engineering, and math students, with the new Austin E. Knowlton Center right next to it.   

 “We’ve reached out to STEM faculties since this is really going to be a community that we’re hoping a lot of our STEM students are going to want to live in,” Mullen said.   

 After renovations are finished, North Hall will be first offered to current and incoming STEM honors students, honors students, and students with STEM majors.   

 There are different designs for the new-look North Hall. There will be small classroom spaces on the first floor in the lounge. The small classrooms will allow for basic lectures and FYE classes that have a majority of STEM students. The post-renovation lobby will not include a laboratory because the amount of equipment necessary would be inaccessible for a residence hall.   

The first floor classrooms will be bigger than those on the second and the third floors. The idea behind the small classroom is to offer students the ability to study in groups, alone, or hang out with friends in a quiet place.   

The kitchen will also be larger, with an island that separates the kitchen from the main lobby. There will be tables with high-top seating.   

The new bathrooms will be salon-style bathrooms since the plumbing setup in North Hall makes it difficult to have private bathrooms in every room.   

“It would just be that one bathroom would have your sink, your shower, your toilet,” Mullen said. “Then you could close and lock the door.”   

Certain aspects of the residence hall will remain intact after the renovation, such as the furniture, which the university purchased a year ago.  

Residence life wants to preserve the outside of North Hall’s historical design to help maintain the historical community in Berea. The elevator that will be added to the residence hall will be placed on the backside of the building, the side of the building that faces the north quad. The street-side view will remain intact.   

Baldwin Wallace plans to continue more renovations to various buildings throughout campus in the coming years. For now, through surveys distributed via email, Student Affairs is collecting data to understand students’ input in what is wanted for a better experience at BW.