Medlin Hall gets a new look
This summer, the Physical Plant team and outside contractors extensively renovated Medlin Hall. Overall costs associated with the project are estimated around $275,000, the Director of Physical Plant Larry Berry said.
'We feel good about the work that was done at Medlin,' Berry said, 'It is one of our older buildings and it was good to do some work there and upgrade some of the infrastructure and furnishings. The work that was done to it ' gave the building some great improvements. It's a great start to helping increase the longevity of use for that building.'
According to Physical Plant, the flooring and windows were replaced throughout the building, the HVAC equipment was upgraded, work was done to the exterior of the building to seal any holes and fill in deteriorated areas of the mortar, new gutters and downspouts were installed and concrete aprons to the front of the building were added.
Tracey Carlson, the director of Residential Life and Housing, said that renovations to Medlin have been on the administration's radar for some time.
'Medlin is one of our older buildings, so I think that we are always turning in renovations for some of these older buildings,' Carlson said.
Berry said that the university reviews the dorms on campus annually to generate a list of potential options for projects.
'Once those lists are compiled, they are prioritized and reviewed and we then address what is approved by the upper administration,' Berry said.
Carlson said that each summer, President Paul Conn and Chris Conine, the vice president for business and finance, sit down to discuss just how they can allocate funds to keep each dorm updated for students.
'We also had some students raising some issues from last spring that they felt like we needed to do more than replace carpet and other things,' Carlson said.
Carlson said that the university has an administration that truly cares about their students and tries to best respond to their needs.
'[Conn] is a students' president,' Carlson said. 'I think he really listened to [the students] and heard them ' He had heard about Medlin and other buildings and the work that was needed on all of them. He really cares about the students, so I think he was listening to them closely and where their concerns were.'
Carlson said that although there was significant work done to Medlin this summer, there was also work done to the other residence halls.
'Several other dorms have had extensive work done to them over the summer and in years past,' Berry said. 'Medlin needed some upgrades and thankfully we had the resources to address it and other dorms.'
Carlson said that every dorm has its own particular 'smell' and character on campus, including Medlin.
'I think Medlin won't have its old smell,' Carlson said. 'I think because the carpet is gone from the lobby, it is just going to feel fresher.'
Justin Donovan, who is the Senior Resident Assistant for Medlin and was an RA in Medlin last year, said that the renovations have enhanced dorm living, but what has impressed him most and made it different from last year is the way the residents view the dorm.
'This year we have guys who come into the dorm and say 'It smells good in here,'' Donovan said. 'We have guys who see the new furniture the school has provided for us and they say, 'Man, we lucked out getting into Medlin.''
Josh Bloom, the new Resident Director of Medlin, said that when he first heard he was assigned to Medlin Hall, he began asking others what the dorm was like.
'What I have been told is, first, 'the community is amazing,' and second, 'no one ever wants to leave,'' Bloom said. 'Everyone is very proud that they lived in Medlin. And that is going back many generations of people who have lived there.'
Bloom said he has enjoyed witnessing how passionate Medlin residents are about where they live.
'It has been great in Medlin, seeing how naturally community creates itself in that building,' Bloom said. 'There is something about that building. It has taken very little work on [our] end to create really good community in Medlin.'
Donovan said that he sees the renovations as a way to provide a new start into this school year.
'We have been able to start on that foot of, 'Let's get excited. This is our house. This is where we live. This is who we are. We are the men of Medlin.' [The residents] have been able to own that identity,' Donovan said.
Carlson said she has always seen this 'pride of Medlin' on campus throughout her time as director of Residential Life and Housing.
'I believe [the renovations] will just continue to enhance [the pride] because they are going to take more pride in their building just knowing that we care about it and that they care about it,' Carlson said. 'I think that they will sense that it is fresher and more up to speed with some of our newer buildings.'