By Rachel Vachon
Announcing its plans in the fall of 2012 to build a new residence hall on campus, Taylor promptly began construction on the space located behind Gerig Hall.
This month, Taylor will begin recruiting students for housing and leadership positions for the fall, according to Dean of Residence Life and Discipleship Steve Morley.
The building, attached but separate from Gerig, is designed to be able to house 150 students and is set to be completed by the start of the 2013-2014 academic year. What is currently an open structure of concrete and bare steel will soon take on a new shape as the university begins the application process.
While approximately 50 of the 150 rooms will be set aside for incoming freshmen, the university is beginning the application process for current students who want to pioneer and contribute to the new residence hall's culture.
This dorm, like the other residence halls, will integrate all class levels. Academic year is one factor in creating a balanced hall from the applicants. Morley said at an informational meeting about moving into the new dorm that Debby Cheruiyot Bii, the current Gerig Hall director, will move to the new hall. She will be joined by an assistant hall director who will live in Gerig, and both will be responsible for the two halls, according to Morley.
Another idea Morley anticipates using to establish identity throughout the dorm will be a hall retreat at the beginning of the year, giving students a common experience and pride in the place they live.
Morley has already had several students approach him about moving into the new hall, and feels the responses are positive.
Current Gerig resident and sophomore Alli Russell, is one such student who is planning to move to the new dorm this fall. She and her roommate who have lived in Gerig since their first day are anticipating the new hall's features, but also love the atmosphere of Gerig.
"I hope it has a similar feel to Gerig," Russell said. "I love that there is a close relationship between the girls' floors and the boys' floor, and that I feel like I have at least some level of friendship with everyone in the building. Also, I hope the rooms are bigger."
Students interested in leadership opportunities in the new building, can anticipate positions available for six Personnel Assistants, a Discipleship Coordinator and at least three Discipleship Assistants, according to Morley. These positions, along with new and current students will contribute to the overall identity of the dorm.
During the month of February, the Board of Trustees will vote on a name for the new residence hall. According to Morley, each dorm on Taylor's campus has received a significant name derived from a person who has qualities worth emulating.
Morley added that the new name will also help contribute to the new building's identity as a hall. "Whoever it's named for, that person's story will give us some insight into how we can launch that first year," Morley said.
Unlike Gerig, the new residence hall will have a more traditional layout instead of a suite format, but will include both central lounges on each floor and quiet areas for study, according to Morley. The new dorm will have plenty of indoor and outdoor space and will also include a pond, landscaping, water features and a patio large enough for the entire hall.
While the new hall is not an addition to Gerig, it will offer more space and host opportunities for combined hall events.
"I think there is the opportunity for it to be something wholly other or just kind of new," Morley said concerning the launch and personality of the new hall.