Quad faces last days

North+entrance+of+Quad+resident+hall+goes+through+construction+on+Thursday%2C+March+31%2C+2016.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FPeter+Kim%29

Alex Kroeze

North entrance of Quad resident hall goes through construction on Thursday, March 31, 2016. (The Daily Iowan/Peter Kim)

 

It’s around eight weeks until Quadrangle Hall comes down, and cracks are beginning to show.

University of Iowa officials have confirmed Quadrangle Residence Hall’s coordinator has resigned because of the building’s imminent closure and demolition, prompting questions from students about the administration in the dorm for the remainder of the school year.

Because of this, it’s fallen to student staff and temporary administration to keep the dorm functioning.

Built in 1925, Quad is the oldest dormitory on the UI campus and also one incoming students were least likely to see on a campus tour. In 2015, the New York Times named Quad as one of the worst dorms in the country because of its “nonexistent” water pressure, frequent cockroach sightings, and a lingering mildew smell.

Monica Marcelo, the UI assistant director for social justice, has taken on some of the coordinator’s tasks, said Assistant Vice President Von Stange, the senior director of UI Housing & Dining. Marcelo was not able to provide comment by the time of publication.

“There was an opportunity for that staff member to relocate to another school,” Stange said. “We would have preferred that staff continue throughout the academic year, but that was their decision to make, and we support it.”

Officials have begun preparing Quad for demolition after the spring semester is over, said Brett Seelman, demolition project manager.

Stange said UI officials have looked at the current staff and will relocate those who’d like to continue working in the residence-hall system to other dorms.

“We didn’t hire all the staff intended for Petersen because we knew Quadrangle was going offline,” he said.

Along with a new pharmacy building being built, a new ravine and walking ramp is going in on the northern side of the Quadrangle area. Project design manager Jenn Hoffman said this is not directly related to the construction of the new pharmacy building.

“The walls and the sidewalks have severely deteriorated. We had to close it last fall because it was no longer safe,” Hoffman said, referring to the old stairwell. “There was undermining and safety issues so it was a deferred maintenance need to replace the sidewalk and walls.”

Meanwhile, the twilight days of Quad are a strange time for many residents who see the closing as both necessary and upsetting due to the history and the closeness many residents share in the west campus community.

“I think it’s sad such a historic building’s coming down, but it’s also cool that we’re the last ones who get to stay in it,” UI freshman Jackson Skiles said.

UI freshman Julian King, who lives in Mayflower and works at the Quad front desk, said he would consider living in Quad a downgrade from Mayflower, but Skiles said he disagrees.

“A lot of people say it’s the worst dorm on campus, but this place has character. I think it’s homey,” he said. “It’s humbling to stay in a place that’s not state of the art, like a lot of these other places. It gives you a different perspective on how to live.”

King said there are green dots being placed on items throughout the building, indicating what will be saved and what will be thrown away.

On Tuesday night, students on the Quad Executive Board gave tours of closed sections of the building and offered some historical facts about it but would not allow pictures for undisclosed reasons.

Places such as the old Quad dining hall, abandoned study halls, and parts of the basement were shown to students on the tour.

Stange said after the demolition, there are plans to sell bricks from Quad, which could provide funding for residence hall scholarships. He said plans are not completed, but officials hope to raise around $100,000 from alumni and UI supporters.

He also said there are plans to have a Quadrangle memorial, which could preserve the gate and other historic points, but no details have been completed yet.

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