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Dowd, Nash, White and MacKinnon indefinitely closed, are able to reopen if needed

Staff Reporter

Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 04:08

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Danielle Gamble/IC

The four halls known as the Quads are closed indefinitely.

The recently closed Dowd, Nash, White and MacKinnon Halls will remain so indefinitely, according to Virginia Speight, interim director for Residence Life. 

While the halls were closed due to a diminished need for student housing, they may reopen if an additional space is needed in the future. 

“We were able to redistribute the students into other dorms while keeping roommates and learning communities together as well as the staff,” Speight said. 

Speight said Dowd, Nash and White Halls were set to close last fall, but a larger-than-projected enrollment presented additional needs. 

“This year there was also no intention to open Dowd, Nash and White, and so we did not,” Speight said.

Speight said the decision to close MacKinnon Hall came after an assessment of which buildings the former residents could be moved to for this semester.

“We looked at what MacKinnon had to offer and then compared them to the amenities offered in the other buildings, and we were able to put our residents in other buildings,” she said.

The closed halls are considered by administrators to be a housing option should a need arise for their utilization.

Speight said if residence hall enrollment overflows,  MacKinnon will be opened first. 

The hall closings were taken as a measure to improve student residence life. 

Speight said this decision will expose students to administrators and university services, bringing them “closer to the heart of campus.”

The decision to close the halls was originally made by the former Director of Residence Life Jo Campbell, who resigned last spring, and the senior staff. 

Also informed of the decision were campus police, UT Facilities and Vice President of Student Experience Kaye Patten Wallace, 

According to Speight, Student Government was not consulted when the closings were made, although former residents of MacKinnon were asked their preferences of roommate and housing for this semester. 

Currently UT has about 3,200 student residents and, with the recent closings, can currently accommodate 3,500 residents, although more exact accurate figures will be released later in the semester. 

At this time last year, there were 3,700 students living on campus, according to the UT communications office. 

The office also said the projected utility savings for closing Dowd, Nash, White and MacKinnon $52,000 for the fiscal year. 

Speight said any savings from the closing of the halls would be put towards other student facilities and residence operations.

Students who applied to live in Dowd, Nash, White and MacKinnon in the summer of 2011 were able to choose those halls through the UT portal, but shortly after, the decision was made to close the halls. 

Tierra Davis, a sophomore majoring in education, who was moved from Dowd to Ottawa East, said the switch was well-handled and gave the students enough time to prepare. 

“There was like a $1,500 difference or something like that, but they just had us pay the same as Dowd would have cost,” Davis said.

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