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The alarms of Friley Hall

Mikinna Kerns

With the first few weeks of the school year under wraps, residents of Friley Hall are getting settled into their new home.

“Having air conditioning, especially through that first week, was a godsend,” Wesley Korba, a sophomore double majoring in physics and math, said.

However, some students in Friley were left without air conditioning in the recent heat.

“Expanding the number of halls that are air conditioned is something we hope to do in years to come,” said Chad Bauman, the communications specialist for the Department of Residence & ISU Dining. “Many of Iowa State residence halls were built prior to the popularity of air conditioning – and that includes Friley.”

Bauman said that Friley Hall was built over a 25-year period in five stages; the first section was built in 1927 and named Hughes Hall in honor of R.M. Hughes, President of Iowa State from 1927 to 1936. He also said in 1939, the first addition of Friley Hall was completed and was called New Hall. Three more additions were added to the New Hall building between 1942 to 1954. The fifth addition, completed in 1954, connected the Hughes stack to the New Hall stack.

According to Bauman, once Hughes and New Halls were connected, the building was renamed Friley-Hughes in 1957. It has been called “Friley Hall” since its final renaming in the 1960s. 

Recently, Friley has developed a reputation for its unusually high number of fire alarms.

“There was one day where we had six fire alarms in 24 hours,” said Katelyn Williams, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering and Spanish. “Five of them were on one day but only one of them was scheduled.” 

Not only have there been a lot of fire alarms, but sometimes the alarms end up resulting in even more alarms.

“We had one where it went off and we went back inside, and then fifteen minutes later it went off again, and I think we were told that it was because people in Windows burned stuff because they left for the original fire alarm and forgot to take something off, so pretty much the fire alarms are causing more fire alarms,” Korba said.

Some students are unperturbed by the alarms.

”I’ve only been inside when the fire alarms have gone off like two, maybe three times,” said Patience Koch, a sophomore studying food science.

Other students, like Korba, say they feel grateful that the alarms have yet to go off in the nighttime.

Some students have been affected differently.

“It’s just a little bit annoying at this point because then the lights keep flashing and you go outside and you can still hear it and it gives you a headache,” Williams said.

“Obviously safety is our first concern,” Bauman said. “We’d rather be more proactive before rather than later.”

Later, Bauman explained that the heat in the first few weeks was the cause of some of the fire alarms. 

One of Friley’s most notable features is Friley Windows, located on the ground floor.

“Friley Dining was a dining center that was operational from the 1940s to 2003. Friley Dining had two dining rooms, Windows and Dungeons. In 2003 we opened Union Drive Marketplace. When that new dining center opened, we closed Friley Dining,” Bauman said.

However, Windows was not closed for long. Friley Windows eventually opened in 2017 in response to a growing student population. 

The students have been very pleased with Windows.

“I just like having it,” Koch said. “I mean it would be nice if it was open for breakfast, because that’s, you know, the main meal that I would like to go to the building for.”

One additional feature of Windows is its late-night hours. Windows is often open until 11 p.m., while Union Drive Marketplace closes at 8 p.m.

According to the ISU Housing website, Friley is “one of the largest residence halls in the nation.” Bauman confirmed that there are over 600 rooms housing more than 1,000 students on average.

“It’s nice having this big of a place to live, honestly, because it means that all the cool stuff is right around here,” Korba said.

Even though it is a large residence hall, some students do not feel cramped. “It’s very nice that it’s big in the fact that people aren’t super cramped together,” Williams said.

Altogether, students have seemed pleased with the living situation at Friley this school year. 

“It’s been really good. People have been really friendly,” Williams said. 

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