Wallace Hall residents review their living conditions


Jordan Maurice/Iowa State Daily

Wallace Residence Hall reopened for the 2022-23 school year after being closed the previous school year.

Constructed in 1967 as a temporary living space for excess students, Wallace Residence Hall, commonly referred to as “Towers,” is still standing and occupied by students over 50 years later.

Wallace comes equipped with an on-site fitness center, convenience store and a connected student recreation center. However, many are questioning whether this once-temporary living space is still suitable for student housing.

The university closed Wallace for the 2021-22 school year but made it available again for the 2022-23 school year. Located nearly a mile from central campus, it remains the most distant student dorm currently available to students.

“The distance is always something that’s a struggle,” said Annie Chu, a junior studying accounting and a Wallace resident assistant (RA).

Although student parking is available on-site, students without vehicles are often forced to use campus bus transportation to get to their classes.

“I’ve already had so many experiences where I’m late to class because one of the CyRides is delayed,” said Kelly Kla-Diihbah, a freshman studying computer science.

One of Wallace’s unique amenities is that it does not require students to have an Iowa State meal plan. However, food access is another issue residents are facing due to the building’s location.

The Knapp-Storms dining center is located nearby but has not been open since spring 2021. It currently serves as a bakery. For a fully-functioning dining center, students must travel to one of the other dining halls nearly a mile away.

“I should be spending most of my time in Wallace being available to my residents,” Chu said. “But it’s hard to continuously go back and forth from central campus to get food.”

Wallace is one of the oldest student dorms on campus, and many believe the building is in need of several renovations.

“Currently, one of our elevators is broken, so it’s a chore to get down to the ground floor,” Chu said. “I’ve missed the bus multiple times because of it.”

Wallace lives up to its “Towers” nickname with 10 floors, the most floors out of any other campus housing.

In addition to several technical inconveniences, many residents also believe the interior is severely outdated.

“Generally ramping up the color palette of the commons would be nice because we don’t see them being used that often, and it gives off old library vibes,” Chu said.

With limited space in the Wallace dorm itself, students go to a separate commons building nearby to socialize. The commons are complete with a pool table, ping pong table and multiple study rooms. This common space, however, is often empty, according to multiple students.

Wallace also offers free parking and the lowest single room rates on campus, starting at $5100 per academic year. However, it still has an infamous reputation within the student population.

“Wallace was my last choice for a dorm,” Kla-Diibah said. “I had heard all of the stories about it before coming to Ames.”

Among students, the building is said to sway in high winds, and students believe they are able to feel the building move during large storms.

“I’ve experienced swaying, but I’m on the sixth floor, so I’m already a bit of a ways up, so it’s not too noticeable,” Chu said. “I’ve heard that you can really feel it away if you have all the windows and doors open.”

This makes many residents question the stability of the building. Former Wallace resident and alumnus Jeremy Thompson also experienced this during his time in the building.

“You could definitely feel it swaying,” Thompson said. “I’m honestly surprised that they have kids still living there.”

Although Wallace is one of the oldest residence halls, the far distance from campus fosters a stronger community between the building’s residents.

“With Wallace being so distant from campus, residents tend to group up at Wallace and make tight connections,” Chu said. “I get so happy when I see some of my residents hanging out outside of Wallace.”

Additional information about Wallace Hall can be found on the Department of Residence website.