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So long southside dorms, you will be missed

ChrisIt is official; The Pantagraph reported Friday that the Atkin/Colby and Hamilton/Whitten dormitories will be demolished after this spring semester. The demolition is scheduled to be completed by the beginning of the fall semester of next year, and ISU plans on replacing the dormitory buildings with a building dedicated to the College of Nursing.

Board Chairman Mike McCuskey stated, “I can’t think of a higher or better use for those acres of ground than for us to realize our aspirations to build a home for the College of Nursing.”

While ISU is using their resources wisely in building a home for the college of nursing, it won’t nullify the fact that the Atkin/Colby and Hamilton/Witten will be sorely missed by the student body, including myself.

Atkin/Colby was my home freshman year, roughly three years ago. When I initially moved in, I thought I made the wrong decision by choosing Atkin/Colby as my home. The building was dirty, and the age of the building was obvious in the malfunctioning elevators and lack of fire sprinklers. But, as time went on, I began to have a change of heart.

Junior student Michael McMahan experienced this same change of heart. When asked what his initial impressions of Atkin/Colby were when he moved in, he responded, “the dorms were dirty and old, but I liked the layout.”

I later asked him if he still regretted the decision to move in toward the end of his time there, and he replied, “Not at all. [Atkin/Colby] felt more like college than Watterson ever did. Watterson is more confined, and Atkin/Colby had a sense of community because of the layout.”

I was more than happy to deal with the dirt and grime that existed throughout the building because of the sense of community that was present. The layout encouraged social interaction, unlike the mouse-in-a-maze feel of Watterson Towers. Doors were always open, with neighbors popping in and out to say hello. The quality of the building didn’t matter to us, because we were all in it together, so to speak. We compensated by enjoying each other’s company.

Another aspect of southside that will be missed is the dining center. Students would wrap around the cafeteria in anticipation for the sandwich of the day, which was my personal favorite food option at Atkin/Colby. Even though the options were much more limited than those offered at Watterson, the Atkin/Colby dining center always seemed superior to me because certain options such as the sandwich of the day and the variety of coffee flavors that were available.

Freshman year, I once overheard a passerby tell his friend, “southside is not just a set of buildings, it is a culture.” Now that demolition is inevitable, it made me think of my personal experience living in southside, and I couldn’t agree more. In regards to dorm life, southside was easily my favorite experience. The people living there embraced what southside had to offer, instead of its obvious flaws. With the destruction of these dormitory buildings, the school will be gaining a much needed academic center for the College of Nursing, but it will be losing a crucial part of ISU’s history.

 

Chris Chipman is a junior English major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to dv_cdcipm2@ilstu.edu. 

 

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