By Katie Smith, A&E Editor
Merlini Hall will reopen this fall, but administrators say they will likely look for a replacement residence hall within the next three to five years, Jennifer Gantz, Newman’s chief financial officer, said.
“In our campus master plan … we have a need for a new residence hall because that [Merlini] just needs to go,” Gantz said. “Long-term do we want Merlini to be the place? No. We know in the next three to five years we really need to be actively talking about trying to get something different because it’s had a good life but it needs to go.”
But, as for now, Gantz said, Merlini will be opened for the fall semester given there are enough students living on campus.
“We’re hoping that we have enough interest for on-campus housing that we would be able to have Merlini and all the other residence halls opened,” Gantz said.
Gantz said that the university chose to close the hall in an attempt to increase fellowship between on-campus students.
“The whole purpose of on-campus housing is a sense of community. If you have just a few people in this place and a few people in this place, you don’t have the sense of community that you would have if you were all together,” Gantz said.
Last semester, Scott Mudloff, the director of residence life, said the administration made the decision to close Merlini to keep operating costs low and because of the lack of on-campus students.
Senior Regan Casey, who had strong feelings on Merlini’s close last semester, is ready to see it open again.
“I’m excited to see that Merlini will be opened up again,” Casey said. “It’s nice to know that it will be used instead of sitting empty. I hope that they use the summer to fix it up and make it as efficient as ever.”
Junior Vlada Litvinova said she loves Merlini and is ready to get back in there.
“This year I live in Carrocci Hall, and it’s nice, but Merlini is close to everything, is cozy and has big rooms,” she said. “It’s like living downtown in the city instead of living out of the city. I’m so excited to return back to it already next fall.”
Gantz said Merlini has had its share of problems in the past, such as the sewage smell that required a wing of residents be moved last year, but that there is nothing wrong with the building now.
She said that they are discussing ways to make Merlini appealing to students.
“We are talking about having it at a cheaper rate... We’ve had increases in the res halls the last two years, with the exception of Merlini,” Gantz said.
Gantz also said that administration is discussing making all of the Merlini dorms single occupancy, but it is all still in the works.