Next steps for Cleland Hall

You asked, we investigated: why is Cleland Hall closed?

Students had their own unique take on the issue, thinking that it could be anything from the hall having structural issues and being unsafe, to it not being up to code in other ways, forcing the school to close it until renovations are done.

You’re all wrong, and the answer is surprisingly simple: According to Director of Residence Life John Salazar, the building was closed because it could be closed. You could say that makes this case closed. However, I had more questions.

Most students know that Cleland began as a women’s dorm. However, I did not know that they used to have a garden, or that Cleland was, at one point, the most modern and highly requested building on campus.

The main reason that Cleland is closed is because with student registration at the level it is right now, Cleland did not have to be open to house students this year.

Instead, Monmouth opted to try out a new idea with the freshman class by making Liedmana co-ed dorm. With the layout of Liedman, this is easier because the two wings in the building allow for some separation, but not complete isolation between the men’s and women’s sections.

Closing Cleland also allowed the school to refocus their maintenance on other buildings and saved the college money for maintenance by eliminating a building entirely rather than having students in every building and then having to pay for maintenance for each building regardless of occupancy.

Since all upperclassmen have experienced the co-ed living style, it makes sense to make a freshman option for co-ed living because last year, there were separate buildings for men and women, but most upperclassmen then lived in co-ed dorms, which meant there was a drop-off for living style between sophomore and junior year.

As for the future of Cleland, Salazar says he does not know for certain. As it stands right now, the building is in good enough shape to reopen tomorrow if need be, but there isn’t a need to reopen the building, so why keep it open without a purpose?

When I asked about the future of other buildings on campus, Salazar says his top pick for a renovation would be the Fraternity Complex. However, he says that he doesn’t know the exact plans for what would be done with the complex, as it is extremely old and dilapidated. Renovations might be useless if the building ends up having structural problems.

What are your thoughts?

Caroline King – Staff Writer

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