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Woodell Hall Temporarily Closed

By Daniel Smith
On September 10, 2018


Male residence hall Wooddell at Concord University is closed for the Fall 2018 semester.
Concord residence life staff has moved previous and incoming Woodell residents to either South Tower or Wilson Hall. Wilson Hall is currently serving as a co-ed residence hall after being a female dorm for several years. 
According to Rick Dillon, vice president of administration and associate dean of students, preliminary discussions began last semester. The discussions regarding the closing of the building started late April and went through May. Bill Fraley, director of housing and residence life, and now-retired Dr. Marjie Flanigan, who at the time was vice president of student affairs and resident directors, discussed closing the building. The possibility of closing Woodell was even discussed a few times in SGA meetings during the spring 2018 semester. Woodell was ultimately closed to save on the costs of workers’ salaries and various utilities, according to Dillon. With Woodell closed, workers could be re-assigned to positions at other places on campus. 
After going over the incoming housing registration projections for the fall semester, Dillon stated that his staff found it possible to close Woodell Hall and successfully move the residents into the remaining residential buildings on campus.
Housing registration projections are records showing the number of students who have applied for a room at Concord. These records have been kept for more twenty years, according to Dillon. He says that, “By example, they can know how many students have applied for a room by March 31, April 30, May 31, June 30, and July 31 of each year.”
“Records allow us to predict with good accuracy what kind of year we can expect in the next class, before the class actually arrives on campus. In other words, how many residential students we expect to show up for a room on check-in weekend,” says Dillon. 
A total of 50 male students signed up during the spring to live in Woodell Hall for the fall 2018 semester, according to Dillon. These residents were initially moved to South Tower, but soon after, they had the choice of staying in South Tower or moving to Wilson. Each Wooddell resident received a phone call in June from the Office of Housing and Residence Life informing them of its closing. If students wished to be moved to Wilson instead of Towers, then they were re-assigned to Wilson Hall for the semester. 
However, some students reported not receiving a phone call at all to the student government. One student residing in Wilson Hall claims she did not receive a phone call notifying her. Taylor Carter, a Concord sophomore, heard Dillon discuss in the SGA meetings last semester how co-ed Wilson was a possibility. She says a friend claimed to have received a phone call, but Carter at the time thought the plan was not finalized.
Just before returning to campus early for her student government position, Carter viewed her room assignment to find that she was assigned a roommate for the Fall 2018 semester after requesting a single. During this call, however, she was informed that Wilson was now co-ed.
Carter explains, “I never got a call all summer long until I had been placed with a roommate, [even] though I had been planning to get a single [for] this year. When I called [Housing], they said the only way for me to get a single was probably to get a medical excuse because they were full due to it becoming co-ed.” 
Now that Wilson is co-ed, males currently reside on the ground floor and the first floor. Female residents who selected to live on either the ground or first floor were notified over the phone that they would be re-assigned to rooms on the second, third, and fourth floors. As for the returning residents of Woodell, there were between five and 10 of them who decided to move to Wilson as well, according to Dillon.
Resident Assistant (RA) jobs were not affected, as returning RAs were just re-assigned to other residence halls on campus. Before Wooddell’s closing, not every floor in Towers had an RA living on it. This had been the case for the past couple of years. Now that Wooddell RAs have been reassigned, there can be an RA on every floor of Towers save one, according to Dillon. 
Dillon reports that there were savings on the salaries for a resident director, a housekeeper for Woodell, and other custodians. No custodians lost their jobs, for they were re-assigned to different positions on campus. 
As for utilities, more public area lighting can be turned off at night, and the heat can be turned down to 52 degrees in the winter, according to Dillon. The building is typically heated at 70-71 degrees when opened during the winter. “The whole state is in a budget crunch, so any money we can save is good to save,” says Fraley. 
This is the first time Woodell Hall has ever been closed during Dillon’s 20 years of working at the university. Dillon states, “There is nothing physically wrong with Woodell Hall…Woodell Hall will happily be re-opened, as will Sarvay [Hall], when the lack of available residence hall space dictates the need to do so.”


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