Redbirds reminisce over Southside dorms

For the past 50 years, the Southside dorms on campus have been home to thousands of Redbirds. The now empty buildings loom over University Street, but the dark halls inside echo with memories and stories from past student life.

Since it was recently announced that Southside would be demolished by the fall 2014 semester, many feel they are saying goodbye to an old friend.

Southside first opened with Hamilton and Whitten halls and Feeny dining center in 1960. In 1962, Atkin and Colby halls followed.

The buildings served as a second home to many students for over 50 years until they closed in September 2012 when the decision was made that it would be too costly to renovate the buildings.

For junior Speech-Pathology major Nicole Pacente, living at Southside her freshman year was a very positive experience and she was sad to hear about it closing.

“I had some of my best memories in that dorm,” Pacente said. “It was where I lived freshman year and I had so much fun there. I’m also sad that no one else will have the opportunity to live there.”

Many believed that one of the best aspects of Southside was the location. The dorms were across from the Student Fitness Center (SFC), near campus and close to several restaurants.

Southside residents could always be found in the grassy area between the dorms and the SFC when the weather was warm, and traveling in packs on the weekends to Redbird Pizza across Main Street, which is now Cherry Berry.

For Caroyln Stefani, who lived in Atkin from 1981 to 1983, Southside was not yet a co-ed dorm.

“My roommate wanted to live in an all-girls dorm. Yes, I’d live in Southside again but as a co-ed dorm,” Stefani said.

Stefani also enjoyed Southside for its location. Being a member of the marching band, she appreciated living close to the field they practiced in near the tennis courts. She also liked being close to restaurants and downtown.

Although Stefani was not able to visit Southside again after living there, many alumni did return during the dorm’s last few moments of life.

Archive photo

Archive photo

Tours were available for alumni to walk through the halls one last time and visit their old rooms. Room numbers and door knobs were also sold on plaques after the building losed for  previous students who wanted to hold on to a piece of their time spent in the dorms.

For junior Molly Mazur, Southside holds many positive memories.

“After we finished classes, many of my friends and I ran around the building gathering people to go outside and play Frisbee and other sports in the field next to the dorms,” Mazur said.

Since the dorm closed, Mazur admitted that she and several other previous residents have peered into the windows of the vacant buildings and reminisced on the times they had living there.

“That dorm provided everything for me,” Mazur said. “It was in a good location, had great food, a comfortable living space and it’s where I met some of my best friends today.”

President Flanagan has stated that the nursing building which will be built in the place of the Southside dorms will be a very positive addition to ISU’s campus, and it will provide great opportunities to students.

Though the Hamilton-Whitten and Atkin-Colby dorms will soon no longer cast a long shadow over campus in the setting sun, alumni who called Southside home can still hold on to memories created in the halls.

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