Outgoing News Editor
The renovation of Cullen Hall will come to completion in the near future, with students ready to move in next fall.
According to Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Ursula Herz, the building will be open first to upperclassmen, in the same price range as Kent, Queen Anne’s and Caroline Houses.
“Before Cullen was renovated, upperclassmen did not have a hall in this price range. They had to jump right away to the suite style. That was difficult for some. So, this is why we’re offering it up to upperclassmen first because it offers them another price point,” Herz said.
Final inspections of the building will occur in June, followed by a certificate of occupancy and the cleaning of the building.
“It’s August that it’s projected they’ll be done,” President Kurt Landgraf said.
Once the building is cleaned, it must be furnished. Some of the bedroom furniture previously in the dorm is fairly new and will be reused. Other furnishings will be brand new.
“We’re in the process of ordering new lounge furniture, so that will have to be delivered,” Herz said.
“At that point, it’s going to be beautiful,” Landgraf said.
In addition to new furniture, the bathrooms in Cullen have been entirely redone with new fixtures and tiling. The reopened dorm will also have freshly painted walls, new floors, ceilings, windows, and blinds.
Many of these changes were made to unify the building, which was previously divided into separate dorms: Worcester House, Wicomoco House and Somerset House.
“It used to be one hall, then it got chopped up, now it’s back to one hall,” Herz said.
There was a practical reason behind the reunification of the building. Herz believes that going in and out of three separate but contiguous buildings was difficult for cleaning staff.
“It just doesn’t make sense, because the custodian who’s assigned to that building has to have three sets of everything,” Herz said.
The reunification allowed for other changes to be made as well.
“If you had been in there beforehand, where the walls divided there were these dark little closets — obviously we got rid of them — but that used to be the laundry room. So, there are new laundry rooms,” Herz said.
Herz and Landgraf said that Cullen is most likely among the first of several renovations of residence houses that will occur on campus. Kent Hall was renovated last year.
According to Herz, the next priorities are Reid, Minta Martin, and the Hill dorms, although these pose difficulties as historic buildings.
The restoration of those dorms will have to be carefully planned, and will probably occur over the course of several years.
“I know that if we did it next year that would be extremely ambitious with money,” Herz said.