Wray House was closed at the end of Fall Semester 2019 but will reopen in fall 2020 because of renovations that will take place at Gamertsfelder Hall.
Wray House, built in 1968 on the back of South Green, housed about half its capacity in the past semester and was deemed a consolidation hall. Currently, the hall does not house students, and it will not house students again until fall 2020.
“We look at what we think our occupancy is going to come out to be. We're pretty good at, based on past averages and numbers, really (figuring) out what it should look like,” Peter Trentacoste, executive director of Housing and Residence Life, said.
As the housing process began, Housing and Residence Life began to realize that Wray was not going to fill up completely, Trentacoste said.
“We realized that we may have the ability to not operate Wray, but there are a number of students that will apply kind of towards the end, and we often don't have the amount of space that we want. So the negotiation with me and my team was ‘OK, let's make Wray our consolidation hall,’” Trentacoste said.
Students who selected Wray House for the Fall Semester were made aware that the house would be a consolidation hall, and they made other housing arrangements for the Spring Semester. Trentacoste said housing assisted any students who needed it, but most found new housing on their own.
Some students did not have the ideal experience with the consolidation housing in Wray.
Kaylee Smith, a sophomore studying political science and psychology, selected Wray for her housing first semester because she is an alternate resident assistant and didn’t want to subject a roommate to a new, random roommate if she needed to take up RA duties.
“At the time Wray was one of the only buildings they had available for singles, which I wanted to stay in because I was an alternate RA,” Smith said. “They had told us that it was housing that may not be available for the second semester, but … up until a few weeks before November, they weren't really communicating like the odds of having to move out. It wasn't set in stone.”
Smith remembers asking her RA the odds of her moving out around October. He told Smith the odds were around 70%, she said.
“They didn't really keep up with reminding people that it was coming,” Smith said. “Up until kind of towards the end of the first semester … they weren't really staying on top of it, at least in my opinion.”
It is typical for housing to have consolidation housing, Jneanne Hacker, director for Business Operations and Conference Services, said. The decision is based upon forecasting, trends, numbers and data that the university has.
“It is not unique that we have a hall that we target for consolidation effort,” Hacker said. “It is a call that we identify in advance. We know that based on our numbers, we may or may not have a need to utilize a hall short term in order for the entire academic year. Wray was one that was identified.”
Despite some maintenance issues with the facility, Wray will currently stay in use, and housing has no direct plans to demolish it at this time.
“For Wray, certainly we don't have a time table for when it's going away at this time. The original plan was to demolish all of Back South. We're still kind of looking at that in context of what the needs are. There's deferred maintenance back there. If we maintain those facilities we will need to take that on,” Trentacoste said.
Wray will become active again in fall 2020 due to the remodel taking place at Gamertsfelder.
“We will be back in Wray. We expect to operate next year, but that's because Gamertsfelder is coming offline for a sizable improvement to the restroom and the heating and cooling in that facility,” Trentacoste said.
In the time between this semester and Fall Semester 2020, Wray House will be used as a facility to house parents during Parents Weekend as well as alumni coming back for events.
“It's always good when a building is meant to be occupied that you do use it,” Trentacoste said. “Letting a building sit for years (is) never a good idea.”