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Rector provides details on Walsh Hall renovations

| Wednesday, January 18, 2017

As the fall semester drew to a close, the Walsh community girls gathered for a meeting with the Walsh Hall renovation team to discuss the changes to the building. According to Liz Detwiler, the Walsh Hall rector, the building will have a number of updated features including expanded rooms and new common areas.

“For the new renovations, I know that all of the piping and plumbing in the building is going to be new,” Detwiler said. “Some of the rooms are going to be resized to be more appropriate to the amount of people in them. … We’re going to have lounges on every floor with full kitchens.”

The dorm will have a new elevator and the private restrooms connected to individual dorms will be replaced with public restrooms. The renovated residence hall will also include new apartments.

“We’ll be getting a new apartment space for in-residence priests, or faculty members and probably most importantly, it’s going to be accessible for people of all physical abilities now,” Detwiler added.

Walsh Hall president Aly Sonnen said before the meeting, the Walsh community girls did not know much about the renovations.

“We had a ton of questions,” Sonnen said. “Until the presentation, we really did not know much about what was going on. You can’t see that much from outside the building.

“There were a lot of questions just about what it’s going to look like and what our lives next year are going to look like as a result of the renovation. They answered them all really well, though.”

Freshman Sammie Escamilla said she thinks Pangborn Hall is a nice building, though she has not lived in Walsh Hall yet.

“I was never in Walsh, so I know nothing different,” Escamilla said. “To me … [Pangborn is] nice. Other people say it’s not so nice. When you tell people you live in Pangborn, they kind of give you the ‘Oh, I’m sorry face’ but I mean, I think it’s a nice building. The rooms aren’t too small. We have no headroom but other than that, it’s not too bad.”

In Walsh Hall, each floor consisted of one long hallway and there weren’t any sections. Junior Shea Kelly-Buckley said she first noticed Pangborn’s hallways when moving into the dorm, as they were very distinct from Walsh’s.

“It was different,” Kelly-Buckley said. “It felt a little bit smaller. There were sections, which was new. Just having corners was something kind of different. But my room in Pangborn is actually bigger than the rooms in Walsh, so it’s been very comfortable.”

Pangborn’s smaller hallways have been an adjustment for the community, according to Sonnen.

“I think the biggest thing is that Walsh as a building made for community really easily,” Sonnen said. “Pangborn has a lot narrower hallways and a lot less common space that, when we’re throwing events or even just meeting new people, it’s harder to do that.”

Sonnen said the “non-physical” aspects of Walsh have not changed.

“We talk about ‘Walsh Love’ a lot and we have three main tenets of our being,” Sonnen said. “They’re safety, inclusion and community, so that’s really what we’re trying to cultivate in Walsh.”

Kelly-Buckley said in some ways, moving to Pangborn has not changed the feeling of dorm life for the Walsh community.

“Because they kept the whole Walsh community together, it feels the same to me inside the dorm,” Kelly-Buckley said. “Obviously the physical location is different, but you know, we’re still Walsh.”

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