Harrington Hall has been a hot topic at the university since the beginning of the year. The renovations to the residence are a multi-million-dollar project which began before the summer. The building was constructed in 1964, and was formerly the all boys residence. Over the summer the building was gutted, despite the age of the residence making this difficult. Though the outside of the building remains the same, the complete overhaul of the building left the inside drastically different.
A major change in the house is the installation of gender neutral bathrooms. Although the hallways are still gendered, students are welcome to use any washroom they are comfortable going into. A residence advisor in Harrington, Octavia Cook, says that they receive more push back from parents than students.
“I find because it’s such a sensitive topic right now people tend to be more, like, I don’t wanna say like, careful in the bathrooms, but more respectful than they are, like, in the halls…” – O. Cook
Other renovations include new lounges, furniture, water fountains and a kitchen. Previously Harrington was the only residence without a kitchen, and some of their furniture had student signatures from the nineties. Although there is still no elevator, there is some improvement to the accessibility of the building with the installation of a ramp at the side door.
There is a lot of buzz surrounding Harrington because the renovations were not completed before move-in day. When the students arrived the new kitchen was still closed, painting was not finished, and there was no cable or wi-fi in the lounges, among other deficiencies. Although some students and parents were upset with the state of the building, others, including Harrington Resident Tanner Anderson have different opinions.
“It’s understandable, like, people just have to sit back and realize that everybody’s lives is not a hundred percent focused on work. We all – everybody as a person has lives as well outside of their work life. So they can’t put their work on the top of their priority when a close family member dies…” -T. Anderson
Anderson claims to have heard rumors that a family member of the contractor died during the renovations. He urges people to remember that everyone has a “social aspect” to their lives outside work. Either way, Anderson says that he’s happy with the improvements and doesn’t mind that they are still finishing some aspects.
Controversy or not, Harrington is now the most improved and high-tech building on campus, and student hope it will only get better as they complete the finishing touches.