Since the opening of the new 16 million dollar residence hall, Juniper Hall, the former residence hall of COCC, has been largely empty.
“It is a creepy ghost town in there,” said ASCOCC President Connor Westover.
OSU-Cascades is set to open for the 2016-2017 school year. Although students will be required to live on campus for their first year, they will not have a residence hall to call their own until Winter term 2017.
To solve this issue, students will be living in Juniper Hall for their first term at COCC. These students will live in Juniper Hall for the 2016 fall term at a 25 percent discount, which will include free meals and people to move their things during the break between the transition. The hall can accommodate nearly 100 bodies.
While not yet legally set in stone with signed papers, the framework for the deal is there for the OSU-Cascades to lease Juniper and move in. According to Matt McCoy the vice president of administration at COCC, the lease is a symbiotic relationship because the building, built in the 1960’s, will not have an immediate use for the upcoming school year.
“They help us, we we help them,” said McCoy
Along with leasing the building, McCoy said the OSU-Cascades will be updating heating and cooling systems and the plumbing at a shared cost with COCC before the OSU-Cascades students move in. However there are many things that still need to be done to update the building for future use.
According to the Alicia Moore, Dean of Enrollment services and administration at COCC, accessibility to the concrete building is a problem.
“The biggest challenge with Juniper Hall is that only the lobby area is accessible for individuals with mobility considerations; without significant modifications, the remainder of the building is not accessible.” Moore said, “The building was designed in the mid- to late-1960’s, a time in which awareness of ADA(Americans with Disabilities Act design were not prevalent in the United States.”
The cost amount of updating the accessibility to ADA standards is between $250,000 and $1,250,000, according to McCoy, who grew up with his mother in a wheelchair is familiar with the difficulties and thinks with that perspective. That wide price discrepancy is dependent upon outside or inside accessibility. Inside Juniper, the lobby is the most accessible and does not need significant modifications, however there are no lifts in the building for wheelchair access to all 4 levels. The cost would approach $1,250,000 if lifts were to be installed in the building.
Modifications to the building will be with an eye to the future, after the Fall it’s use is still up in there. There is a task force to determine future use, which could include knocking down non load bearing walls to create some rooms bigger than a two person dorm.
While OSU-Cascades will be leasing Juniper Hall, there lease for Cascades Hall will be ending in September of 2016. According to McCoy, that building will be in use by the Winter of 2017 in COCC. Even though that building is significantly more modern, there are some adjustments to be made to it as well before future use.
Jack Ewing | The Broadside