Martin Hall reopens as newly rennovated home for freshmen males

Video by Christina Soto | Broadcast Reporter, Story by Savannah Cooper | Staff Writer

Martin is unique to campus, but from the day it opens their doors, they’ve always been all male. After a year of renovations they’ve re-opened and look forward to starting a new culture and presence on campus.

Construction on renovations started in May of 2016 and opened right before move in day in mid-August of 2017 welcoming 260 freshmen male residents, the collaborative renovation process transformed the building from within.

Assistant Director for Facilities and Operations for Campus Living and Learning, Curtis Odle, has been a key figure in the process and highlighted how they worked within their constraints.

“The footprint of the building hasn’t changed so we had to work with the constraints of that footprint, but things like natural light, better flooring, new sinks in the rooms have been added,” Odle said. “One of the biggest features point in the building is in the lobby there’s a cutout that makes a two story atrium.”

Martin Residence Hall Director J.D. Newman is excited to welcome the new residents and has a clear vision for what he wants Martin as a hall to accomplish.

“The division of student life has four learning goals: Calling, Citizenship, Community and Wholeness,” Newman said. “We as Martin Hall, we’re tasked with taking one of those goals, for us, that was community and what does that look like for a bunch of freshmen men, what does community look like in a residence hall and how can we best exemplify that.”

Martin Hall is unique to the rest of campus, because they’re an all male residence hall. Instead of shying away from that, Newman is using it to establish intentional conversations about touchy topics that are needed to be discussed like masculinity.

“We’re the only all male residence hall on campus,” Newman said. “It gives us the unique opportunity to talk about topics like masculinity with the guys that are here and talk about what does it mean to be a Christian man.”

To ensure such plans will be properly executed Newman plans on setting the tone early by partnering with an on campus organization as well as showing a documentary.

“We are planning on showing a documentary pretty early on that talks about masculinity,” Newman said. “Student activities showed it last year, and I thought it was such an incredible way to speak into that topic.”

Newman also plans on partnering with an on campus organization to further opportunities for growth within Martin’s residents.

“I’m partnering Men for Change which is a committee among the Baylor staff about mentoring young men,” Newman said. “If we have students here who are interested in being mentored part of what my hope is that Men for Change work team can partner in that.”

From a director’s point of view, Odle said their three main goals for renovation were to improve the living environment, academic space and socialize space.

“One day in and we already have guys hanging out in the lobby, using the facilities and parents are leaving at peace with their sons here,” Newman said.