Pearsons Hall set to open for residents fall semester 2015
by Katie Stephens
Maryville College has been over capacity for the past two years with residential students due to an increase in enrollment. During the 2014-2015 academic year multiple freshmen men were assigned to live three to a room in Gamble, an all freshmen male residence. This issue led administration and Residence Life to the decision to renovate the living space on the upper floors of Pearsons Hall.
“We were at capacity this year and needed a solution. Pearsons residence halls were closed down about five years ago because it needed some work done. Renovating the space to accommodate residential students was the most economical and efficient solution,” Dean of Students Vandy Kemp said.
The construction going on in Pearsons started in August 2014; however, many didn’t know the details. Some questions include who will be allowed to live in Pearsons, what requirements will there be and what the rooms will be like.
Kristin Gourley explained the general floor plan of the hall.
“Pearsons is being built in a T-shape format. Most of the floors contain double rooms that will all share a community bathroom. Each floor does contain three to four suites with a private bathroom,” Gourley said.
Suites will be given priority to upper class students. Gourley also stated that the second floor of Pearsons will house upper class women, and the third floor will house freshman men. However, Dean Kemp stated that if upper class men need a living space they will be given the priority.
Gourley and Dean Kemp both agreed that any specific requirements to live in Pearsons will be discussed with the Student Government Association.
“Currently, Pearsons is in the discussion of becoming a wellness building similar to Gibson. There will not be a GPA requirement, but it will be considered a dry building,” Kemp said.
The residential space is also being designed by the same interior design team that helped renovate the dining hall area on the first floor. Kemp stated that it is planned for the retro design of the dining space to continue on to the residential floors.
“I am very pleased with the design of the dining hall and am excited to see it continue upstairs,” Kemp said.
Although none of the dorms have private kitchens, each floor will have a common space that will have a community kitchen according to Gourley. There will also be an elevator in order to accommodate anyone with physical restraints.
Gourley stated that she is excited for students to live in what will be a newly renovated residence hall next fall. She also stated that she is more at ease for this year’s room selection.
“We have been actually asking seniors to live off campus the past two years due to the capacity issue. Now we won’t have to anymore,” Gourley said. The fall 2015 semester will bring back a below capacity rate along with the new dorms.
Pearsons Hall will be an available option in this year’s rooming selection process for doubles. However, the construction is now on a delayed schedule and will not be ready in time for the early arrival of student athletes and residence life staff. Gourley wants students to be aware that if they are scheduled to move in early before classes resume that they will first be staying in a different space until renovations are finished. However, Gourley assures students that Pearsons will be finished by the start of fall semester session.
“The rooms will be ready to accommodate student housing this fall. We have already hired staff for the building and are optimistic for its use,” Gourley said. She also assures that this is the only year this will be an inconvenience.
During the room selection process, residence life staff will speak with students interested in living in Pearsons Hall to explain how the move-in process will work due to the impending finish date of the construction. Gourley encourages students to attend the information sessions posted in the MC Today so that they can be informed about how room selections and the lottery works.
MC continues to do its room selection in person as well. Most major universities and larger colleges tend to do their room selec- tion online. However, some private schools continue to do housing selection on campus.
“It is just too expensive,” said Gourley, “I have looked into trans- ferring the process to an online process and we just do not have the funds. The systems cost too much to use and we would have to tack on extra charges to the student bills.”
There are several different room options that students can pick from. Single rooms are avail- able in the freshmen buildings and Carnegie. Most suites are located in Gibson, Lloyd and Carnegie. Gibson is a health and wellness build- ing that asks students to never have possession of alcohol or tobacco in their rooms. Beeson Village is an apartment style housing option available to upper class students who maintain certain academic requirements and no outstanding alcohol violations.
Gourley encourages students to research the financial aspects of each room and building as well. MC recently released that tuition will be rising 3.5 percent in the fall of 2015. The rise in tuition will increase the payments of housing and meal plans as well. Fresh- man must buy a gold meal plan. Sophomores may choose between gold and silver. Juniors and seniors can choose either a bronze, gold or silver plan.
Residence life still wants students to feel encouraged to live in Pearsons Hall for the 2015- 2016 academic year despite the complications. The residence space in the building is the last one planned for renovation according to Kemp. However, Kemp did state that administration and residence life is looking into keeping up with a three to four year cycling plan in order to upkeep current residential spaces.