By Matt Kyle | Staff Writer
In May, Collins Residence Hall is set to undergo renovations scheduled to last until summer 2023. The 600 displaced women who typically live in Collins each year will instead live in other dorms or Cityside, according to Tiffany Lowe, director for Campus Living and Learning (CL&L).
Lowe said in order to account for the lack of space next year, CL&L “reconfigured” other dorms on campus and is limiting the number of upperclassmen who can return to the dorms to make more room for freshmen.
“Texana, instead of being first-year and upper-division female, it’s only first-year female,” Lowe said. “University House, instead of being male, will be all first-year female as well, to compensate for the loss of female beds. Every community was tweaked in some way.”
Lowe said some upperclassmen will still be able to return to the dorms, but that number will be lower next year. She also said upperclassmen who are not attached to a Living and Learning Program will be housed in University Parks Apartments.
Lowe also said some students will be housed in Cityside.
“Cityside this year was added to make sure we have housing for everybody, because we had a really large first-year class,” Lowe said. “It was a last-minute addition, whereas this year, it’s there on purpose. It’s going to help us with making sure we have enough first-year beds for all the students. It’ll be male and female, and it’ll be run like a first-year community.”
Lowe said the renovations that will be done at Collins include “behind the wall” renovations like updating heating, air conditioning, electricity and plumbing. Collins’ facilities will also be updated by adding classrooms, private “pod” bathrooms and guest bathrooms; cleaning and modernizing spaces; and adding more ramps to ensure accessibility. Lowe also said the renovations will include a space for a faculty-in-residence, as Collins is currently the only residence hall without one.
“Collins bathrooms, we’re trying to maybe do something that’s more appealing to students,” Lowe said. “You walk in [to the pod bathroom], and there’s a private toilet, shower and sink. And then there are a couple of bathrooms on each floor for guests. So if you have a male guest, then they can go to the bathroom and they don’t have to go all the way down to the lobby downstairs to go to the restroom.”
Baylor spokesperson Lori Fogleman said via email the renovations to Collins are a continuation of previous renovations done to other residence halls.
“We went through a five-year construction period of existing residence hall renovations, which were much needed but also very intensive,” Fogleman said. “South and North Russell Halls were completed in 2014 and 2015, respectively, followed by Penland Hall in 2016 and Martin Hall in 2017. We paused the renovation plan for a couple of years, then COVID hit. However, in spring 2021, the Board of Regents approved resuming the master plan to renovate our remaining residence halls, which also is one of the key elements of the next five years of Baylor’s Illuminate strategic plan as we seek to improve the on-campus residential experience.”