Two residential halls, Old Barrows and Barnard House, were reopened this year, and house a total of 64 students.
Old Barrows, commonly called "Old B", was re-opened as a living co-op for 16 women. Old B was closed in 1993 due to structural weaknesses, and was renovated over the summer.
Director of Operations Gene Mathews said that when Old B was closed, it faced major structual and infrastructural weaknesses.
Old B has been open as a dining co-op for the last two years, but this is its first year as a re-vamped living co-op.
John Howard, building maintenance area manager, oversaw the renovations. Mathews said that in addition to data networking, repairs included roof repairs, a new heating system and a new boiler.
"It is by far not complete," Mathews said. But he said the building is up to living standards. "I thought [Howard] did a really nice job. It looks great," Mathews said.
The renovations to Old B were done by the College, as part of its rent contract with Oberlin Student Cooperation Association (OSCA). OSCA rents its buildings from the College.
Mathews said that it was not renovated before because the College needed to repair other dorms that housed more students. Last year there were major repairs made to East Hall, and this year the first phase of repairs to South Hall will be complete.
According to senior Jenn Carter, OSCA president, the College was bound by its rent contract to provide OSCA with a living co-op for 16 upperclass women. She said the College thought it would use an off-campus house it owned, but such a hose wasn't available, so the college renovated Old B.
"It's really nice now," Carter said. She said there are new carpets and walls, and that the rooms generally look completely new. "I want to live there," she said.
The second dorm re-opened for housing is Barnard House. It had been used as a residential hall before it was transformed into offices to accomodate staff members temporarily evicted from Peters Hall. The offices of Residential Services, Student Academic Services and the Counseling Center were housed in Barnard from 1995 until June of 1996.
Changing a dorm room into an office isn't easy. "We had to move built in furniture," Director of Residential Life Deb McNish said. "It wasn't easy."
After Peters reopened, the furniture had to be reinstalled and the office supplies moved south. "We were pressed," McNish said. "With conference services and early arrivals, it really presses us."
The offices managed to evacuate by the Aug. 17 deadline, but they left a few things behind. "They left some office things for us,"said Limmie Pullman, Barnard resident coordinator. "We found things in closets. We found some carts, filing cabinets."
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 2; September 13, 1996
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