In the basement of the newly-renovated Colby Hall Dormitory, Maddy Jones is baking fresh cookies in the “Colby Cove” and Claire Joyce is enjoying a “Grey’s Anatomy” marathon in the new theater.
“Everyone just loves to feed each other,” said Jones, a first-year fashion merchandising major.
Joyce, a first-year mathematics major, added that on Thursdays the Colby theater is packed with residents enjoying TV marathons on the big screen.
Colby reopened this semester after undergoing its first major renovation since 1957, and students said that the changes have created an incredible living experience all-around.
“It’s a nice place to come home to because it’s so comfortable. It’s chill and quiet,” Jones said.
The changes in the residence hall include a new basement study space called the Colby Cove, a movie theater with a 90-inch television, a brand new laundry room, lounges on all three floors, study rooms and card swipe-access to each room.
Jennifer Sepulveda, the hall director in Colby, said that the biggest impact by far has been the common spaces.
“The common space areas are getting people out of their rooms, connecting and trying to build community,” Sepulveda said. “Having those common spaces has been the biggest difference and students want even more study lounges.”
Despite there being an influx of first-year students this year, Sepulveda said residents are still asking for more common spaces instead of more residential space.
Sepulveda said six Colby students had to live in study rooms that were converted into residential rooms and 35 students were living in extended housing, such as forced triples and quads, at the beginning of the year.
“Some people say, ‘we have too much common space; why aren’t we creating more rooms for our situation we’re in having so many first-year students this year?’ But it’s because the spaces are still being utilized,” Sepulveda said.
“There are a lot of triples this year. We used to have a study room and that was converted into a room,” Jones said.
Joyce said that she lives in a triple and enjoys it.
“I live on the third floor in a triple, but not a forced one which is nice. It’s really big and the windows open up,” Joyce said.
Jones said she also lives in a triple, and that each bed is against a wall.
Sepulveda said that Colby has become safer this year with the addition of swipe access to individual rooms.
“We’re the only first-year dorm that has swipe access to every room. The pros of this include great safety because the doors are always locked behind you. But you have to bring your ID everywhere,” Sepulveda said.
Residents who lived in Colby pre-renovation said they didn’t feel like they missed out on much by living in an older residence hall.
“I honestly don’t feel as if I missed out on having a newer style dorm,” said Hallie Burt, a junior child development major. “Yes, it would have been nice to have better amenities, but Colby was special in that it had a certain charm about it,” she said.
Junior entrepreneurial management major Brittany Prager agreed.
“I loved living in Colby my first year. It looked old, but I loved the rooms and closets and the camaraderie of the dorm was fun,” Prager said. “Now the new Colby looks so pretty and I love the new study rooms; those would have been super helpful,” she added.
When asked about the traditions Colby had pre-renovation, Sepulveda said that some traditions are going away and some are still in place.
“Colby Halloween is no longer with us. Last year Hall Crew took over and they did TCU Boo in the Commons. We’re still doing Friends for the Giving, our Thanksgiving event,” Sepulveda said.
Sepulveda said that she wants a new tradition to happen in Colby, and said that she’s hoping to brainstorm an event to put on in the spring.
A brief history of Colby Hall