Construction on Murphy Hall is scheduled to end in mid-December of 2015, though students will not live in the building until the 2016-2017 school year.
Construction started on Jobe and Murphy Halls in January 2015, forcing the students who had lived in the building to vacate after just one semester of living there during the fall of 2014.
“Had we needed the space, like we had in past years,” said Charles Macke, director of Residential Life, “we would have opened up for January.”
Freshman enrollment at Tennessee Tech is down by 15 percent from 2014, according to Tech’s Fall 2015 enrollment census. In past years, students lived in overflow housing while the residence halls were being completed. However, because of the drop in enrollment, Tech has no students living in overflow housing and no one to move into Murphy once renovations are completed.
“I’m upset that nobody will be able to live in Murphy next semester,” said sophomore Jacob Donegan. “But the reason they aren’t opening makes sense.”
Donegan had hoped to live in Murphy in the spring of 2016.
Students in Tech’s Honors Program lived in Murphy Hall until January 2015. Jobe Hall is serving as honors and business housing for the 2015-2016 school year.
When construction first began in January, students from Jobe and Murphy were relocated to alternative housing arrangements.
Construction on Jobe was finished July 2015, allowing the residence hall to become available to students.
“Jobe is the bigger of the two,” said Macke, “so we worked on getting Jobe done first and then Murphy.”
Renovations include a new study lounge and a renovated multipurpose room. These rooms sit in the intersecting corners of Jobe-Murphy and are accessible to both dorms.
The renovations to Murphy Hall will match the renovations made to M.S. Cooper-Pinkerton, Ellington-Wharf and Jobe Halls. Murphy’s tile floors will be replaced with wood, a kitchen will be added to the first floor and all study rooms will be updated.
“The goal is to make the building be less institutional,” said Macke.
Renovations to Murphy Hall have extended behind the walls. In addition to redecoration, the residence hall’s plumbing was replaced. The bulk of the remodeling work was in the plumbing.
“The plumbing and the piping was so bad that if you had a leak, then you had a hard time finding a good place to cut that leak,” said Macke. “It was really bad.”
By the time construction is finished, Jobe and Murphy Halls will share two new rooms. The tentative goal is to eventually turn the two buildings into a residential village, though no official plans have been made.
“This isn’t set up to be a village yet,” said Macke, “but we’re going to be ready for it when it happens.”