Miller Hall open to residents, Houston Hall prepared for renovations

01/25/2019 - Medford/Somerville, MA - Progress on the construction on Houston Hall is pictured on Jan 25, 2019. (Christine Lee / The Tufts Daily)

Construction on Miller Hall is largely completed, and renovations on Houston Hall have begun, according to Joshua Hartman, director of Residential Life and Learning (ResLife).

Students living in Miller who were temporarily placed in Houston for the fall 2018 semester were moved back at the end of December 2018, Hartman said in an email to the Daily. Miller reopened at noon on Jan. 14 for residents, making all facilities available to students for the spring 2019 semester onward, he said.

ResLife asked affected students to pack their belongings before winter break and moved the belongings into their new rooms at the close of the fall semester, Hartman noted. The students were moved to similar rooms in Miller, though sometimes on different floors than the ones they lived on in Houston.

“There was a comprehensive moving plan which was initiated prior to the start of the fall 2018 semester,” Hartman said. “All students who needed to move were provided with moving boxes and labels for their belongings, and were asked to box their items and leave them in their Houston room.”

He added that Tufts hired a moving company to bring students’ items across the residential quad to the students’ new rooms.

Even though the majority of construction on Miller is complete, there are still some changes in progress, Hartman noted.

“There are some minor things (such as some additional lounge furniture, some signage, etc.) that will be handled after students move in, but that work will not be intrusive on students’ living spaces,” Hartman said.

Kathryn Ezeoha, a first-year living in Miller, explained that the construction had some effects on living. However, she added that with the new facilities the commotion of construction was worth it.

“During construction it was really loud and it would start really early in the morning, but I got used to the sounds,” Ezeoha said.
“Now that it’s done, it’s really nice and it was definitely worth the wait.”

Miller resident Isabella Urdahl, also a first-year, described the benefits of having access to the new common spaces.

“The beginning of the semester, because there were no common rooms, it was hard to socialize and there wasn’t really a place to work so the dorm was just a place to sleep,” Urdahl said. “[Of the changes] the thing I appreciate the most is just having space where I can work that’s not the library [and] having a social space to interact with people in my dorm.”

Before the completion of the common space, entry to Miller was limited to the side doors. The building was split into multiple sections with temporary walls separating the sides from the central common space, Urdahl explained.

Besides liking the dorm’s new appearance, Urdahl said that she appreciates the way the common space brings people together.

“There are people that I’m meeting who I didn’t know lived in Miller my first semester because I had not met them but now I [have],” she said.

Ezeoha also attributes the new common spaces to the greater ease of getting to know other students in Miller.
“There’s definitely more floor interaction. Before, I didn’t really know a lot of my hallmates. Now we get to see each other more and there are a lot more people now that people from Houston have moved in,” Ezeoha said.

Construction work on Houston has begun this semester, according to Hartman. These renovations and the process used to complete them will be similar to those in Miller, Hartman said.

“Half of [Houston] will be undergoing major interior renovations while the other half will remain open and functioning with residents in the spaces,” Hartman said.

He explained that the construction of Houston will parallel that of Miller.

“Houston will eventually look like the mirror image of Miller, with an elevator installed, new flooring, and brand new well-lit and spacious lounge spaces.”


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