The end of this semester also means the end of three residence halls known as the Triads.
Allen Hall, located on East Campus, will be the last of the Triads to lock its doors for good after graduation in May, the same month it is scheduled for demolition.
In 2006, the university began to consolidate residence hall vacancies in order to operate more efficiently and reduce housing costs for students, said Lisa Marks, interim director of university housing.
Revitalizing the university residence halls is a key component in attracting and retaining students, Marks said.
“Many of our peer institutions are making significant investments in their housing facilities and we want to remain competitive in the higher education marketplace,” she said.
The initiative to update the SIUC campus residence halls was taken by Chancellor Rita Cheng during the Board of Trustees meeting in December 2011, where she proposed a housing plan to construct new East Campus residence halls within the next 10 years.
The plan includes the demolition of the Triads and Brush Towers, construction of new residence halls, rebuilding of Greek Row and graduate housing and renovation of Thompson Point.
House Bill 4361 passed in January 2005, requiring colleges and universities in Illinois to have a fire sprinkler system in both newly constructed and existing residence halls in place by January 2013.
Marks said upon the passing of the Illinois legislation, the university began to assess the cost of updating SIUC residence halls.
“Given the age and condition of the Triads, our financial analysis determined that it was not financially prudent to incur the costs to install sprinklers and to make the necessary renovations,” Marks said.
In addition to adding sprinkler systems, other needed updates to the Triads are not cost effective, said Phil Gatton, director of plant and service operations.
Modern buildings require significant space above each ceiling to provide temperature control, technology needs and power, he said, which is much different from when the halls were built.
The Triads, which were built in 1965, may seem outdated to the needs of students 47 years later.
Marks said the university considered the popularity of the buildings and the expectations of today’s students.
She said the floor plans not only make building community among the residents more difficult than in other areas, but they also have large community bathrooms.
The Triads have become less attractive to students than the suite-style arrangements offered in most of the other residence halls, she said.
Jarron Washington, a freshman from Chicago studying engineering, is one of the 204 students finishing the semester in Allen Hall.
Washington said he likes the hall as opposed to other residence halls because of the relaxed atmosphere, and he said he will be sad to see it go.
“It’s like our own Thompson Point over here,” he said.
Gatton said since the Triads were no longer in the SIUC Housing’s future plans, it made sense to tear them down, which would save the costs of maintaining them.
He said the demolition provides opportunities for future housing development.
Housing options are a main factor when a future student is selecting a university, Gatton said. He said without modern and attractive housing, it puts the university at a competitive disadvantage in recruitment efforts.
SIUC competes to get the best and brightest students, he said, and housing options should reflect that.