Alex Schlee | Staff Writer | 10-15-12
As we undergo the second month of the fall semester, students around campus are settling into their new schedules and living spaces. In the case of Birch Hall residents, whose brand-new living space underwent its official unveiling to the public a little more than a week ago, the settling-in has been particularly interesting. The newly-remodeled residence hall features all new furnishings, including a lounge and a kitchen on every floor. Also of note is the living space itself is entirely co-ed, including its bathrooms.
Having co-ed bathrooms seemed an unconventional choice to some on move-in day back in August. There seemed to have been few big issues with the layout, however, apart from some small confusion.
The new bathrooms are set up in the middle of each floor, on either side of the corridor. Each side contains six individual rooms, three of which are independently-functioning unisex bathrooms, and the other three are shower rooms. Each side comes with a common area with sinks and mirrors as well. Solid wooden doors equipped with deadbolts ensure privacy to each bathroom and shower room.
The designs for Birch’s new restroom layout were originally created back in 2010. Several different layouts were considered, and each blueprint was presented to the student senate, Birch Hall staff and residents for approval. The most popular of the ideas were then voted on for the final model, which was incorporated into the remodeling project last year.
“We were really nervous when we opened,” said Aya Leonhardt, Birch Hall’s director when commenting on the new building’s reception at the beginning of the year.
At first, there were worries that incoming residents would not approve of the new structure, but complaints have been kept to a surprising minimum.
The reception for the renovation as a whole, especially on the bathrooms in question, has been positive. According to Leonhardt, only two complaints regarding the facilities have been issued. Neither of these were in regard to their co-ed nature like she and other staff members expected. Both complaints have been related to faulty fixtures. Leonhardt said any complaints about the restrooms or anything else related to Birch Hall should be directed toward the hall council.