By Aaron Young
Hackney Hall is the oldest operating residence hall at Barton College, originally built in1962. This semester it opened completed renovated.
“Barton’s administration faced the decision of either demolishing the building or renovating it,” said George Solan, Barton’s vice president student affairs and residence life, “and they had originally decided to demolish the building.”
Much to the joy of the hall’s current residents, the decision was made to renovate the building.
“It was too integral of a part of Barton’s history, and we felt it would be a waste to demolish the building,” explained Solan, “so we decided to renovate it instead.”
The renovations began in June 2014, and will be completed by sometime in the coming months.
The renovation of Hackey turned the residence hall from multi-student rooms with shared baths to single student occupied rooms with private baths.
Alena Grubb, the RA for the third floor of Hackney, didn’t exactly choose to stay in the hall, but said she is happy she was placed there.
“Even though it wasn’t directly my decision to live in Hackney,” said Grubb, “the fact that the building was going through such a drastic renovation appealed to me.”
Hackney’s original layout is similar to how it is now, except that it was originally a completely enclosed building.
The way residents shared facilities was different as well, according to Solan.
Four rooms shared one bathroom in between the rooms. Two people were assigned to one room, meaning eight people shared one bathroom.
Just because it is under renovation doesn’t mean there isn’t any of the original building left.
The brick walls in each of the rooms are completely original, though practically everything else has been changed.
It wasn’t just the renovation that appealed to Grubb. “Having my own private bathroom and bedroom are the best things about living in Hackney,” she said. “I feel that the setup of the rooms encourage residents to feel a sense of independence (unlike) a traditional residence hall, because residents are responsible for the upkeep and cleaning of their rooms.”
She added that the 24-hour visitation policy is also a nice benefit.
While it is nearly finished, Hackney isn’t exactly completed.
“Hackney is still currently moving through the renovation process,” said Grubb. “The lobby and ground floor are currently being worked on.”
“In my time here at Barton College, I have never felt unsafe in this environment,” said Grubb, “but until key card readers are installed, I am a little more apprehensive about the safety of my residents.”
“Stairwells are only accessible by residents with a key,” she added, “and the building has a great amount of lighting, so I feel that the staff is doing a great job to ensure the security of Hackney Hall until the installation of key card readers.”
Future plans are to renovate the Waters, Hilley and Winger residence halls. “The plan is to renovate all the traditional dormitory style residence halls,” said Jared Tice, dean of students for Barton, “but a concrete timeline has yet to be established. Given their current layouts and our increased demand for student housing.”
He added, “I would not anticipate any of our current residence halls converting to single-only occupancy at this point.”