By Cassy Sottile and Erica Quinones
Various changes have come to both Cecil House and Cullen Hall for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Cecil House’s changes are not physical but residential. The building served as the Phi Delta Theta fraternity’s home on campus. However, the fraternity will not inhabit the building this academic year. In their place is a group of upperclassmen which includes one demographic previously unseen in the fraternity setting: women.
The new co-ed suites in Cecil House were created because, as Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Ursula Herz said, “All of our other housing for upper-class students is co-ed, so it just made sense for Cecil to be co-ed as well.”
The fraternities Kappa Sigma and Kappa Alpha will continue to reside in their respective houses, Dorchester House and Talbot House.
Cecil’s co-ed suites have created an opportunity for students like junior Samina Soin-Voshell to experience living in the fraternity houses.
“After living in one of the hill dorms last year, which are so convenient to campus, the opportunity to continue that accessibility by living in Cecil while also having reasonably priced singles and a private common room was really appealing,” Soin-Voshell said
However, while Cecil’s accessibility and price were appealing, Soin-Voshell said that the building itself had some problems.
“I am disappointed about the state of mess that Cecil was in when I moved in since it had been very poorly maintained,” Soin-Voshell said. “[Cecil] had, and still has, numerous problems in our suite alone, and at that [point] had not been cleaned or cleared out.”
South of Cecil House, Cullen Hall has also offered students an unlikely opportunity, but its demographic bleed lies between grades.
With the completion of the 14-month renovation, Cullen Hall is being offered to both upperclassmen and freshmen alike. To accompany the building’s new interior, Herz believes this will also give Cullen a new environment.
“It will provide opportunities for all of our students to interact and learn from one another. For our first year students it offers some role models for living on your own and transitioning to WC while still benefiting from the community friendly structure of a traditional style residence hall,” Herz said.
The renovated hall is becoming a blend of new and old in everything from its inhabitants to its infrastructure.
The Department of Public Safety has moved from the Casey Academic Center back to its original home in Cullen Hall.
The August move placed Public Safety in their original office located in the lower level of Cullen Hall. The basement is accessible through Cullen’s east door.
There is no card reader on the office’s exterior door, only on that which leads to the office from inside the dorms, according to Director of Public Safety Brandon McFayden.
“Anyone can enter the building and get access to the PS office, but only those students who live in Cullen can access the dorm floors,” McFayden said.
The building now sits atop one of its new additions, the geothermal field.
As President Kurt Landgraf said in his July 31 email to students, “much of the $8.2 million invested in the project was spent on the systems that make the facility more comfortable and energy efficient.”
These include the four geothermal systems that Cullen Hall uses for heating and cooling. These systems represent on average 26 percent savings in the cost of energy in comparison to conventional systems, according to WC’s website.