Ross Hall to remain open for 2019-20 academic year

Ross Hall sits on Hampton Drive and will stay open for next year. Collegian file photo. 

MEGHAN STRATTON | NEWS EDITOR | mrstratt@butler.edu

Butler University has officially decided Ross Hall will remain open for the 2019-20 school year. This decision comes as a result of enrollment projections for the Class of 2023 which indicate the need for additional housing space. The first-year students next year will live in either Irvington House, ResCo or Ross Hall.

“As students are applying to Butler, we want them to know what their residential housing options will be for next year, so they can make an informed choice,” said Frank Ross, vice president of student affairs. “It was important to us to be able to make the decision early enough so applicants will know that they’ll have three options for housing.”

Ross Hall has been a staple in the Butler residential experience since its opening in 1954. Beyond next year, Ross’s future is unknown.

Butler will be unrolling a strategic campus master plan later this year to help determine campus growth. This process will involve evaluating every campus space and deciding the best use for the next several years.

“There are a lot of new things being built on campus,” Ross said, “So I think looking at Ross Hall and seeing what the next evolution of campus growth is will be an important step.”

Ross Hall currently has a capacity of 250 students. After the 2017-18 academic year, the university decided to only continue using the first and second floors of Ross.

Kathy Shellogg, interim executive director of student living and learning, said she sees Ross Hall as a great opportunity for overflow students.

“A building like Ross is much easier to keep open until you determine what you’re going to be able to do in the next few years,” Shellog said. “Are you going to be able to build something new? Are we going to have three new fraternities? All of things come into play, so it’s a great way to pull that off.”

The age of Ross Hall can provide challenges. First-year Summer Martin, an anthropology and psychology major and Ross resident, said she has concerns about the building.

“There are already many flaws to the building,” Martin said. “For example, when the ceiling collapsed due to leaking in the men’s bathroom. Also, I don’t understand, when there are two very high-tech buildings for residency, why you would want to continue to use a building that isn’t near those standards.”

Andrew Wayne, a first-year biology major and Ross resident, said he agrees with Martin’s concerns about Ross’s overall structural issues. Wayne’s first reaction when hearing the news about keeping the hall open was, “Why?”

“I don’t think Ross should be open,” Wayne said, “Because it is very old and the bathrooms leak, and it’s hot. But, if we have another incoming class the size like this year’s, I see why we have to keep it open.”

Heat is a common concern among Ross residents, as the bedrooms and hallways do not have air conditioning. However, residents usually keep their doors open to combat the heat, which additionally fosters community.

“It is a blessing and a curse that there is no air conditioning,” said Alejandra Escobedo, a resident assistant in Ross Hall. “Blessing that it makes you keep your door open, whereas the curse is everyone is dying of heat. The open door forces socialization with a common struggle.”

Students can report their residential concerns to reslife@butler.edu or visit the Department of Residence Life in Atherton Union Room 303.

The Butler Collegian will continue to follow this story.

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