While students prepare for final exams and pack up for the summer, two residence halls are preparing to close their doors for good. The Complex, made up of Center Hall, Wellness House and the housing offices in West Hall, will close in May. The university announced demolition plans for the Complex in December 2014.
This year, the three buildings housed a living learning community, or LLC, for engineering students, storage space for RSOs, offices for campus housing and Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Center Hall and Wellness House are each home 60 student residents, according to U of L housing’s website. The buildings, now 45 years old, were once called the Fraternity Complex.
According to Shannon Staten, the director of campus housing, plans for a new residence hall are in the works but not finalized.
“The plan at this point is to build a new residence facility on that site,” she said.
University spokesperson Mark Hebert confirmed Staten’s comment. “We hope to start working on the demolition immediately after Commencement, so sometime in the middle of May,” said Hebert. “We are planning on another student housing complex going up on that property, which will be vacated and cleared once we get those three old dormitories torn down.”
Staten says the new engineering LLC will move to Community Park next year. Returning engineering students who wish to remain in their LLC will live in Bettie Johnson Hall or University Tower Apartments. Most of the returners were encouraged to look into the affiliated housing communities.
Campus housing relocated to the fifth floor of Stevenson Hall after spring break to prepare for the demolition of the Complex. As for the RSOs and Delta Upsilon Fraternity, Staten says that they were informed of the timeline of the construction process.
“I’m not sure where they will land yet,” said Staten. “I know the university is looking to find somewhere for them, but there is just not a lot of space.”
One group of residents in Center Hall decided to spruce up the hallways in their final month on campus. Freshmen Deanna Gilliam and Maggie Collins say they began painting the hall to take a break from their school work.
Both agree that the traditional residence hall atmosphere will be missed when the engineering LLC moves to Community Park next year.
“It’s got a traditional hall experience, and I think that is what really helped us get into college.” said freshman chemical engineering major Deanna Gilliam.
“Here everyone is engineering, and you go downstairs and you study and you talk to anyone – it’s just really cool. That’s kind of the sad part (about moving to CP),” said freshman Maggie Collins.
“That’s how we got through Calc I,” laughed Gilliam.
Both Gilliam and Collins will move off campus in May. Next fall, only about 200 upperclassmen will live in on-campus housing, says Staten. Upperclassmen could apply to live on campus if they were involved in living and learning communities or qualified for an extension.
“We have to make sure we can take care of our first year students, and we are not sure exactly where that class is going to land,” says Staten.
Center Hall photo by Rachel Essa / The Louisville Cardinal
Center Hall interior photos by Adeline Wilson / The Louisville Cardinal