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Limited space prompts move to Hathorn

December 2, 2010

Residence Life and Student Rights and Responsibilities offices began their move Wednesday from out of the Involvement Center in the University Center into the basement of East Hathorn Hall.

The move will take place in two phases.The first was Wednesday, and the remaining staff members will move Dec. 17, Director of Residence Life and Student Rights and Responsibilities Sandra Scott Duex said.

Duex said the main reason for the move was that staff changes in Student Affairs had overcrowded the IC. Another reason was to provide better facilities to meet the privacy needs of staff that deal with confidential matters better than the pod-style offices had. The restructuring of Student Affairs including the addition of First Year Experience since the IC was designed has left the IC overcrowded.

Assistant Director of Residence Life Julie Phelps said that many staff had desks pressed against the walls of the pods in the IC rather than offices of their own. Since Residence Life already owned the space in Hathorn Hall, it made the most sense for Residence Life and Student Rights and Responsibilities to be the ones to move out of the IC.

Cost of constructing several new offices, furniture and the addition of another outer door cost Residence Life and Student Rights and Responsibilities approximately $60,000 to $70,000, said Phelps.

Crabtree Residence Assistant Maranda Mahr said she thinks the move of Residence Life outside of the IC is kind of sad.

Mahr said she thought the majority of RAs utilize the UC and it is a common place to see the professional staff in passing or stop by their offices to visit them or discuss issues. Mahr added that she believed some RAs wouldn’t take the extra step to go to Hathorn Hall to visit professional staff.

Duex acknowledged that being in the UC is optimal for meeting causally, but that the new office space would have hall manager mailboxes and two small conference rooms so that student staff might start to see the new space as a place they are welcome.

“I don’t think the move will weaken relationships,” Duex said in an email. “Although it is true that one of the benefits of being in the UC was the informal contact that could happen. I do believe, though, that our Res Life student staff will come to see the new Res Life office space as theirs and we certainly hope staff will stop by frequently.”

Phelps said that meeting with student staff would be more of a challenge, but feels that they will make the extra effort.

The new space will be home to 10 staff members; four will have private offices and six will be in cubicle style offices.

The new office space will not occupy any student housing space.  Previously, East Hathorn was a daycare, which was transformed from an office space. FredNet also occupied the space until it moved out two years ago. Since then it has remained vacant.

An open house will be held for students during the first week of classes spring semester.