By Matt Kyle
Thousands of Baylor University students are moving into their new residence hall this week after a $41.7 million renovation.
As a result of renovations that began in May 2022, the Ruth Collins Residence Hall has been closed for more than a year, with many students being moved to a hotel across Interstate 35 and several other dorms on campus.
A new community space, including a kitchen and dining room, and more windows were added to the building, which faces the rest of campus. The building’s front entrance was redirected from Eighth Street to Seventh Street. According to Tiffany Lowe, Baylor’s director of campus living and learning, the project also included new hardwood floors and updated electrical and plumbing infrastructure.
Lowe said Collins has a long legacy of community and students who want to live there. In other words, they want to live there because their mother, grandmother, or sister lived there or because they have heard so much about the Collins experience. I found it extremely exciting to preserve some of that history while also modernizing it for students in the future.”
It has taken a long time for Collins, a dorm students nicknamed “Crusty Collins,” to undergo renovations. There are 466 women moving into Collins on Thursday and they can look forward to a clean, updated dorm.
Due to the renovations, Lowe said the old capacity of 570 residents was reduced to 466. According to her, resizing bedrooms or reconfiguring bedrooms as laundry rooms, community rooms, or other spaces typically results in the loss of about 10-15% of beds in a dorm.
The renovation was completed earlier this month after 14 months of construction, according to Baylor spokesperson Lori Fogleman.
When Baylor first secured Cityside in fall 2021 to accommodate an unusually large freshman class, the hotel was dubbed “Cityside.”. The contract expired in May.
In May, Baylor began renovating Alexander and Memorial Residence Halls, home to the Honors Residential College, with plans to link the two buildings with the Carona Family Commons.
Next summer, Fogleman said, Allen, Dawson, and Kokernot residence halls will be renovated as well. Following the renovations of North and South Russell in 2014, Penland in 2016 and Martin in 2017, Fogleman said all ten of Baylor’s older residence halls will have been renovated once again.
More than 20,000 students, including some 3,300 freshmen, will attend Baylor this fall. Move-in began Wednesday and will continue Thursday.
During the move-in event, Baylor students and faculty work with incoming freshmen and their families to assist them with moving their belongings into dorm rooms. The event has become a tradition over the last 21 years.
A “Move2BU” shirt and shorts worn by Baylor President Linda Livingstone showed scars on her knees, evidence of her own recent renovation.
A double knee replacement was performed in June, allowing her to recover in time for move-in.
According to Livingstone, she is feeling great and looking forward to the new school year.
In Livingstone’s opinion, it’s impossible to express how grateful I am to my surgeon and the physical therapist who helped me. I’ve already climbed to the fourth floor of a few residence halls this morning and my knees feel great. The Baylor family has been so supportive, caring, and loving, and I’ve had many prayers, too.
We can’t thank people enough for the support they provided us this summer. I am doing great and can’t wait to move those boxes in.”
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