Residents praise McCulloch hall

by Jen Tutak | 10/23/00 5:00am

This fall, the new $8 million McCulloch Hall dormitory opened fully equipped with an elevator, numerous study lounges, two gas fireplaces, a large outdoor porch, bed frames equipped with raisers, a large-screen TV and a "smart" classroom -- and not surprisingly, the residents are quite content.

The students living there are also very pleased with the unconventional floor plans and bathroom layout, which they say have succeeded in making McCulloch one of the most social dorms on campus.

"I've heard that East Wheelock kind of has the stigma of being anti-social, but I've found that our hall is very friendly," said Nicole Kelleher '04. "As an '04, that's really important because you get to meet a lot of people."

Kelleher, one of 18 freshmen in the dorm, attributes the frequent neighbor interaction to the unusual placement of sinks in the hallways and the common areas on every floor.

The bathrooms, which have private rooms for the toilets and showers but common sinks in the hallways, were designed based on ideas generated from student focus groups run by the Office of Residential Life.

Explained East Wheelock Cluster Dean Steven Cornish, "It's the solution halfway between having bathrooms in the rooms and communal bathrooms. You engineer more of a community because people are meeting at the sinks."

The spacious lounges were also designed to encourage social interaction.

"Very careful thought was paid to the out-of-bedroom floor space," said Senior Associate of the Cluster and Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman.

Students have been able to take advantage of the two main lounges on the first and second floors, as well as the private lounges attached to each of the nine-person suites for studying, UGA meetings, social gatherings and watching television.

Though some students outside the cluster have expressed concerns about wasted space in McCulloch, Cornish justified the commons areas within the building.

"I think that was necessary if you're going to build a sense of community," he said. "Brace is still a little too large to build community and allow smaller groups to feel comfortable."

"I really don't think it's that excessive," McCulloch UGA Amy Briesch '01 said. "There's always people studying. Residents from all the other dorms study here too."

Briesch also attested to the increased community feeling of the dorm.

"Overall, I think that it's just a more social dorm," she said, noting in particular the benefits for the freshmen members of her UGA group. "There's so much space for people to come together, a lot more than I've seen in the other East Wheelock dorms."

Anna Lee '02 lived in the Gold Coast her freshman year but is finding the McCulloch experience more enjoyable.

"I didn't know any of my neighbors," she said of Lord Hall. "It was closed off from everyone."

From the soft wood interior to the cozy couches, McCulloch has already come to seem like home for many of the residents.

"I think the other '04s feel really privileged to live here as well," said Kelleher. "We really know we're in a special place."

Two seniors, five juniors and 55 sophomores also reside with the freshmen in McCulloch. The four buildings of the East Wheelock Cluster house a total of 320 people.

Anyone interested in living in McCulloch still has to submit the regular East Wheelock application, in which students express why they would like to be part of the special residential and academic community the cluster offers.

Incoming freshmen receive a slightly different application over the summer and usually comprise about half the cluster population.