By Sarah Wang | Staff Writer
According to a Baylor news release, the renovation of Memorial and Alexander — which make up the Honors Residential College and house 330 Honors students — is part of the master plan for campus residence hall renovations.
Memorial and Alexander are next in line after Collins Hall, which began renovations in May 2022, and they will be followed by Allen and Dawson Halls and Kokernot Hall. Baylor previously renovated South Russell Hall in 2014, North Russell Hall in 2015, Penland Hall in 2016 and Martin Hall in 2017.
According to Curtis Odle, associate director for facilities and operations, the renovation of Memorial and Alexander will take place over a 14-month period, beginning in May 2023 and ending in July 2024.
Odle said renovations have provided a valuable opportunity to update vintage residence halls, and there have been multiple priorities for each project.
“The most critical improvement is the update to the building infrastructure to include new plumbing, electrical and air conditioning,” Odle said. “In addition, all the interior spaces are updated with new furniture, lighting, flooring and finishes.”
According to Dr. Douglas Henry, dean of the Honors College, the exact renovation plan for Memorial and Alexander is still under discussion. Facilities, the Honors Program, the provost, Campus Living & Learning and outside architectural experts are hosting architectural design meetings to decide on details. These conversations also include decisions over the spaces that will be renovated, color schemes and the addition of rooms.
Henry said the cost of the renovation includes $35 million from the budget dedicated to residential areas and between $11 million and $13 million of funds raised for the project. Both alumni and donors have made donations to bridge the two residence halls.
Henry also said their vision is to build an attractive main entrance, a common space on the second and third floors, updated kitchen facilities and study spaces between Memorial and Alexander.
Henry said students currently living in the residence halls under two-year contracts will be relocated to North Village — the place Baylor houses students during periods of renovation.
Ballwin, Mo., junior Kate Pogue said she lived in Memorial for one year.
“The inside is not that nice,” Pogue said. “But I think that the people in [Memorial] made up the fact that it wasn’t the most modern.”
Pogue said she expects to see improvements in hallways, rooms, “old-fashioned” bathrooms and the “historical” drawing room.
“The renovation presents an opportunity to modernize a pair of residence halls while still retaining the heritage of each building,” Odle said. “Everything will be updated to better serve our Baylor students socially and academically.”