Freeman Hall-Barton Hall consolidation in question

Emily Oliver

Nearly all 99 residents of Freeman Hall gathered at a house meeting Sunday night to discuss concerns of consolidating with Barton Hall and to find out who would be returning for the upcoming academic year.

A letter of concern written by both houses was read aloud at the meeting.

Each resident’s name was called, and the residence gave a response of yes, no or maybe about returning to Freeman Hall.

Randy Alexander, director of the Department of Residence, said he received a letter from Freeman Hall representatives that said 33 residents would be returning for sure, 22 residents were “pretty sure” they would return and 31 residents said they were going to look for off-campus housing.

If 33 residents come back to Freeman Hall, those returnees would require more than one floor of living space, which means there will not be room for both houses of Barton Hall to consolidate into Freeman Hall when Barton Hall closes next fall.

The letter expressed concern that if Barton Hall residents were to move into Freeman Hall, there would not be room for additional freshmen, Alexander said. Freeman Hall residents also suggested only Tappan House in Barton Hall be allowed to move into Freeman Hall.

Stephan Zalesky, resident assistant of Vollmer House in Freeman Hall and senior in industrial engineering, read a letter written by the two house cabinets addressing Freeman Hall residents’ reservations about consolidation. The letter was submitted Monday to the Department of Residence.

“[The Department of Residence] is tearing down Fisher-Nickell and repairing Barton Hall; we don’t want to be left behind,” said Matt Pitcher, resident of Vollmer House in Freeman Hall and junior in pre-biological and medical illustration.

Pitcher said if his plans to live in Friley Hall don’t work out, he would consider moving back to Freeman Hall for the 2004-05 academic year.

The men of Freeman Hall have only lived there for a short time, but Pitcher said the hall is unique because many of the residents participate in sports and bands together.

Andrew Wake, secretary of Vollmer House and freshman in sociology, said those who live in Freeman Hall have a “common brotherhood.”

Wake said he is not opposed to Barton Hall residents moving into Freeman Hall, but said he doesn’t want Freeman Hall’s space or growth rate to be limited.

He said he thinks Freeman Hall has too many residents returning next year, so consolidating Freeman Hall and Barton Hall residents into one building would not leave enough room.

Jason Duncan, treasurer of Vollmer House in Freeman Hall and freshman in mechanical engineering, said that although Barton Hall is closing, the option of moving all of its residents to Freeman Hall is not feasible.

“If I had a choice, I wouldn’t want [Barton Hall residents] here,” he said.

However, Duncan said if the decision of the Department of Residence was to move the Barton Hall residents to Freeman Hall, he would respect it.

The Department of Residence plans to meet with Barton Hall and Freeman Hall residents next week to discuss relocation options.