by Genny Boots, News Writer
By September 2016, Foss Hall will no longer grace the maps, tours or the actual campus of Pacific Lutheran University.
The 51-year-old residence hall has seen better days come and go.
“It isn’t in great shape. Compared to our other buildings it has more facility needs, and more facility needs that are on a much higher level,” said Executive Director of Residential Life Tom Huelsbeck. “[It’s] not something that you can just slap a fresh coat of paint or a new carpet to make it better.”
Foss began as temporary housing for the university and has been a fixture of lower campus ever since. Foss was built in 1965 and originally housed 188 male residents. It was named after Reverend Halfdan L. Foss, chairman of the PLU Board of Trustees from 1942-1964.
Rising facility needs, enrollment trends and student housing choices made Foss a clear choice for demolition.
“We just don’t need the housing space right now,” Huelsbeck said. “Given our enrollment trends and our enrollment plans, we don’t plan to need the housing space anytime in the near future.”
Throughout the summer, Foss will be open and operational. Conferences and Events have booked out the space for the summer camps and conferences that will be held on campus.
As fall term begins, the building will be prepared for demolition.
“Over the course of the academic year, different parts of the university, in addition to residential life, facility services and IT, will be able to go in and anything that is reusable other places will be coming out,” Huelsbeck said.
However, when it comes to the future of Foss, there are many more unknowns.
The big question facing Foss is when it will be destroyed.
“We are aiming for next summer,” Huelsbeck said. “We don’t want an empty building sitting here.”
The ideal time line puts demolition in the summer of 2016, however budget constraints and demands from around the campus prove challenging. Demolishing a building costs a lot of money, so for now, the demolition is in the planning phase.
Huelsbeck sees a potential for more upper division housing, similar to South or Krielder.
Huelsbeck also has heard talk of turning the space that Foss leaves behind into a recreation area.
It would keep the lower campus theme of activity, but be more in the center of campus rather than the outskirts like the fields, tennis courts and gym.
While the possibilities are endless, current Foss residents are preparing for next year. During the 2015-2016 Room Assignment days on April 7 and 8, Foss residents were given a priority registration among the first and second years to pick their rooms.
“I’m happy Foss is being closed. I definitely would not live there again next year,” said first-year Foss resident Pablo Hernandez. “All the people in our wing are living in Tingelstad next year.”
While the current residents of Foss are excited for the move, Huelsbeck has been contacted by Foss alumni who are disappointed by the news.
“I have heard from sad alums, and I understand and appreciate that. We work pretty hard to give people a good residential experience,” Huelsbeck said. “That is absolutely a part of your PLU memory and time here… For Foss alums they’ll still have the memories but they won’t be able to have the physical representation of that.”
The new changes to campus will be an adjustment for PLU. The end of Foss is “a closing of a chapter and we will see where our experience take us from here” Huelsbeck said. 🅼