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Walsh community moves back into renovated dorm

| Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The start of the 2017–2018 school year marked the beginning of a new move to a familiar place for the residents of Walsh Hall.

Last year, Walsh residents were temporarily moved to Pangborn Hall while Walsh Hall underwent renovations such as repairs and upgrades for some of the communal spaces. Walsh’s rector Liz Detwiler said the renovations were “gorgeous” and that the most important part about the changes that she was particularly pleased with was that the character of Walsh remained intact.

Each floor in the hall hosts a kitchen, the result of a year-long remodeling process of the dorm, during which residents lived in Pangborn Hall, the current “swing dorm” for halls undergoing renovations.Sarah Olson | The Observer

Each floor in the hall hosts a kitchen, the result of a year-long remodeling process of the dorm, during which residents lived in Pangborn Hall, the current “swing dorm” for halls undergoing renovations.

“We see it in the original mosaic tile and arches in the hallways, as well as having woodwork play a prominent role in the design and keeping original wood where they could,” Detwiler said.

Detwiler said one of the most important changes to Walsh is its accessibility.

“The biggest positive change is that Walsh is now accessible to all abilities which really fits into our priority of inclusion,” Detwiler said. “It feels wonderful to be able to offer hospitality and welcome to all residents and guests.”

Other new changes to Walsh have included updated bathrooms and plumbing, a new elevator, expanded mailroom, air-conditioned lounges with full kitchens on every floor, a first-floor lobby and coordinated furniture throughout the building.

Brigid Walsh, senior and resident assistant in Walsh Hall, said the hallways in Walsh are straight with no turns, but that the third and fourth floors boast beautiful views at the end of their halls of God Quad and South Quad, thanks to new windows.

“The windows go from the floor to the ceiling on the two ends of the building,” Walsh said.

Walsh said other than the windows, she is also excited about the exposed brick in the two lounges on the fourth floor as well as the new patio porch with tables for outdoor studying when the weather allows for it.

In many ways, Walsh said the dorm still feels the same in character, but that it was only the visibly old aspects that were gone, such as the outdated bathrooms and problems with plumbing. However, she said, this was a good thing.

“It definitely brings back memories of freshman and sophomore year for me because it is the same building with just some nicer touches,” Walsh said.

Walsh said the move to the new building has made her job easier.

“It’s been a really positive transition,” she said. “It made being an RA or being on hall staff a lot easier because everyone had so much positivity coming in.”

Walsh said what was interesting was that some of the underclassmen never lived in the old Walsh Hall and for them this would be their first and only impression of the hall.

“It’s just funny because the freshman never knew old Walsh and neither did the sophomores,” she said. “It’s interesting that those two grades are getting used to the new building.”

Detwiler said during the initial move into Pangborn, she became aware of the resiliency of Walsh’s residents.

“I believe that the Walsh women handled the transition well,” she said. “They volunteered in droves to help me organize and pack up the hall and unpack it twice, for which I’m eternally grateful.”

While the Walsh community has moved out of Pangborn, Badin’s community has moved into it while their dorm undergoes renovations. Detwiler said Pangborn will forever be a part of Walsh’s history.

“At the last Mass in Pangborn last year, we spoke about how ‘the Pang’ — as we called it — is now an important part of the Walsh story, and how she has served us well in our time of need. She was the space where our first years came to love the Walsh community and many important memories happened there.  

“Though we are elated to be back in our renovated home, we have a deep respect for Pangborn. When some upper-class students saw the new Walsh building as they moved in this year, I finally heard the chorus of seven words I had been hoping to hear: ‘Wow— the move was totally worth it.’”

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About Selena Ponio

Selena Ponio is from Dallas, Texas and is currently a senior at the University of Notre Dame. She is the Associate News Editor for The Observer. Selena lives in Breen-Phillips hall and is majoring in International Economics with a concentration in Spanish and is minoring in Journalism, Ethics & Democracy.

Contact Selena