Rubelmann Hall becomes rubble, to be rebuilt by fall 2016
New Ruby boasts more space for students and a to-be-decided storefront
After years of uncertainty, Rubelmann Hall is gone. While decades of students mourn the loss of the archetypal “traditional” dorm, the new Ruby promises more space to keep underclassmen on the South 40 and a to-be-decided storefront.
Associate Director of Residential Life Tim Lempfert said that the new Ruby is on schedule to open in fall 2016. The past few years have been marked with unfulfilled promises to tear down Ruby, with rising class sizes delaying the demolition. Now that the South 40 has one less dorm, some shifts in housing location have taken place for rising sophomores.
The new Ruby, however, will be a step toward solving Residential Life’s recent housing troubles. The building will house 88 more students than its predecessor. Together with Ruby’s fellow Residential College house, Umrath Hall, it will be part of the largest freshman ResCollege on the South 40. The combined houses will hold almost 300 students.
The new design will feature a tower that overlooks both the Swamp and College Hall, as well as a common space that will act as a connector between the Ruby and Umrath. While the floors will be physically connected through the space, similar to Liggett and Koenig houses, Associate Vice Chancellor for Students Rob Wild said that the floors’ large size will not be a detriment to creating close-knit communities.
“The reason I think it’s manageable is because of the way the community will be split. You’ll have that floor identity—you’ll be either on the Umrath side or on the Rubelmann side,” Wild said.
Along with the additional rooms, Rubelmann will have six residential advisers, and there are plans to retain current Faculty Associate Kit Wellman and Residential College Director Nick Dietrich. The building will also have room for a storefront on the lower level.
“There’s a shell space that would be right next to where the Social Justice Center is now,” Wild said. “We hope to announce early in the fall who will be occupying that space.”
Amid all the renovation, the Office of Residential Life is beginning to look at options for the future of the South 40. Rubelmann Hall was the oldest dorm on the South 40, having been built in 1958, but there are still eight older buildings that Wild said could prompt concerns in the future.
“Those are buildings that are either going to require, in the next 10 years, some significant renovation work or are going to need to be rebuilt,” Wild said. “We have no concrete plans right now.”
While sophomores will make up a high percentage of the students living in Village House and Lopata House this upcoming fall, all students who signed up for Residential Life housing will be accommodated.
Lempfert emphasized that the shift was a necessity due to the construction.
“We realized going into this past spring that with the projection for the freshman class and our projection for rising sophomores [that] were going to be living with us that we were going to need to utilize buildings on the northwest corner of campus to house students,” Lempfert said.