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Alumni say farewell to Small Group halls

by Jillana Gall, '08

Alumni will soon have a chance to own a piece of Kent State history: actual bricks from Small Group residence halls. However, before the halls are demolished, alumni are invited to return to campus for one last visit.

Apple Hall

The Small Group dormitories were built in the late 1960s, and according to Director of Residence Life Betsy Joseph, the cost of bringing the buildings up to modern standards is economically impractical. With the recent renovation of Stopher and Johnson halls, and the addition of the Centennial Court residence halls within the last few years, the Small Group dormitories are no longer being filled to capacity. Joseph says that taking these halls down will cut costs in residency rates by using dormitory space more efficiently.

“We were at a point where we had more space than we actually needed,” says Joseph. “By operating at closer to full capacity, we’re able to avoid increased costs in our rates.”

The decision is estimated to save residence services $2 million in utility, personnel, repair and renovations, allowing Kent State’s room and board to remain among the lowest for Ohio’s residential campuses.

The demolition projects will begin in August and be completed in phases that will conclude no later than January 2009. Two of the buildings, Heer and Harbourt Halls, will be taken down this summer, by the time students return for the 2008-09 academic year. Heer and Harbourt once served as traditional residence halls, but have been vacant since August of 2007.

However, for many alumni who once called these halls "home," the demolition is truly a loss.

"I have so many wonderful memories of KSU, most especially my freshman year at Apple Hall. It will be so sad to see these residence halls removed," said Katie McArthur, '99.

"Apple Hall was a special place where being new to college and away from home didn't seem so intimidating," McArthur continued. "Apple Hall will be missed!"

“The intimacy of small group’s halls allowed residents to create strong, long-lasting relationships with floormates, simplifying the transition to a large state university for many co-eds,” adds Brett Neff ‘04.

Students in a former Small Group residence hall room relax.

As a result of requests from Neff and others, souvenir bricks will be available for interested alumni to own. Bricks will be available from all eight of the buildings that are scheduled to be taken down: Altmann, Apple, Harbourt, Heer, Humphrey, Metcalf, Munzenmayer and Musselman.

Additionally, to allow all of those who have fond memories one last chance to see their former homes, all alumni and friends are invited to join the Alumni Association on Saturday, August 16 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. to say goodbye. Meet in the lobby of Stewart Hall -- refreshments and a tour of Stewart will be offered.

For more information and / or to reserve your brick, contact the Alumni Association at (888) 320-5368, (330) 672-5368 or send an e-mail to Bricks will be available for pick up at the Williamson Alumni Center after October 11 or shipped for a charge.

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