Potter, Newby, Memorial to close

Elin Johnson and Hannah Curry

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Starting fall of 2018, three residence halls will be closed because of recent low enrollment rates and so residence life can start to renovate these halls during the school year.

Potter, Newby and Memorial will be affected by this closure. Newby, a small apartment building near Cozine, only houses 11 students. Potter houses 32 students and doubles as an academic building, and may be used to host conferences after renovations. The gender-inclusive housing in Memorial, which is attached to the stadium and houses 20 students, will move to Campbell in the fall.

According to Dean of Residence Life and Associate Dean of Students Jeff Mackay, part of the reason for this closure is low enrollment rates. Mackay cited the low graduation rates coming out of students from Washington and Oregon, where most Linfield students live, as one of the reasons for low enrollment.

Mackay also talked about the idea of renovating the halls during the academic year. He told ASLC Senate it is difficult to find time to do full renovations of residence halls because of the pressure of time constraints. Summer camps make it difficult for the college to repair dorms over the summer as well.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for renovation, if they’re going to be open anyway,” said Calder Ifft, freshman wellness chair for Hewitt Hall.

Mostly, this will impact the number of Resident Advisors staffed next year. About four to six fewer RAs will be hired in the upcoming academic year. Jane Failing RA Madeleine Glenn said that she worries about what the smaller staff size will mean for the Linfield community.

The hall closures mean “four to six less faces of safety, community builders, people upholding policy, going on rounds, stepping in when things get messy,” Glenn said. “We need those people doing good work.”

Although not as many RAs are needed next year, it all comes down to the number of students attending Linfield. The number of residence halls currently housing students, not including the three being closed next year, is enough to house all enrolled students interested in living on campus.

“I do feel we can definitely improve our efforts to get more students to attend Linfield. As a wellness chair, I have seen great work that has helped this year be more successful,” Ifft said.

“This new improvement may not immediately impact the attendance rates, but certainly I believe it will if we continue in the progress among our residence hall communities.”