Bluffton University has recently refinanced their debt and now have three million dollars to be spent on improving residential buildings for students.Three million dollars might seem like a lot of money, especially to students who have loans to repay. However, the renovations that the school has in mind are not cheap.
The money for renovations comes from the refinancing of the college’s debt. As such, Bluffton University has to use the money for building and renovating the buildings that are already on campus. There are three things Bluffton wishes to use the money for: redoing the bathrooms in Bren Dell and Hirschy Annex, renovating Hauenstein and Herschler Hall into apartment style housing for students and making smaller renovations to other areas around campus.
Bren Dell and Hirschy were chosen for bathroom renovations because students have expressed complaints about the bathrooms in those buildings the most.
“The bathrooms in Ropp are okay compared to some of the other buildings,” said Katey Ebaugh, secretary for Student Senate. “Other halls need renovations more.”
There is no finalized timeline of when the projects will be completed, but Bluffton hopes to start the projects over the summer. The renovations may continue into the upcoming fall semester. If this is the case, the students will be moved into other buildings until the renovations are complete.
“[The bathrooms] will be bigger, expanded, handicap accessible, the showers and toilets will all be in one area. It will have all the things that students will want,” said Vice President of Student life, Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator Julie DeGraw.
“Right now the timeline is still up in the air,” said Degraw. “We definitely will start working on something over the summer and likely it will go into next semester.”
The majority of the funding is going to be used convert Hauenstein and Herschler Hall into apartment style housing for students. DeGraw says that the building will be open to students to live in as early as the beginning of next semester. If the building opens in January of 2017, students will have the opportunity to move if they desire.
“There will be about 36 beds for students.” said DeGraw. “We have not determined exactly, but it will most likely be seniors and it will be determined by lottery. We haven’t determined exactly where parking will be. Some of those details are still being worked out.”
The cost of living in these apartments will be about the same as living in one of the dorms. Students may also have the choice of using the commuter meal plan or no meal plan at all since these apartments will have kitchens for the students to use. They will also be air conditioned. Each room would be considered a double.
Offices currently in these buildings will be moved to Shcultz hall. It is more beneficial for the university to renovate existing buildings than build new ones.
“We get about twice as many units out of it if we [renovate] instead of adding new [buildings],” DeGraw explained.
The rest of the money will go towards adding much needed items to the dorms. Hirschy Annex will be getting a laundry room and the kitchen will be redone. DeGraw also explained that funds could go towards getting new carpets or repainting areas of the dorms.
“We want to get this started as soon as possible,” said DeGraw.
Students who have questions or concerns are encouraged to post on Bluffton’s Facebook page, email DeGraw or talk to members of Student Senate.