The waiting game

Taggart, Merrill and Travis Halls remain empty indefinitely

Merrill Hall had stood empty since 2017, but its demolition is not in sight. Photo by: Taylor Davis | Torch Photographer

Many students have been wondering what is planned for the empty residence halls on campus, and it appears that nothing will be done with them anytime soon.

Three residence halls — Taggart, Merrill and Travis — are currently unoccupied. According to a 2016 Torch article by Harley Harrison, Merrill and Travis residents received an email stating the halls would be closing at the start of the 2017-18 school year.

Ferris Vice President of Administration and Finance Jerry Scoby said that the halls will likely be demolished, but it may be a few years before any action to do so is taken.

“What we don’t want to do is tear them down, improve the site and then come back a year later and do something new there, because if we were to do it that way, we would actually be wasting money by dressing up the site after the building came down, and then when you come back in to build something else there, you’re going to tear up the landscaping and things that you put in,” Scoby said.

Some students feel that the halls could continue to serve a purpose in the meantime rather than standing empty.

“I think it’s unfortunate. I think there’s a lot that could be done and people could still live there, but I don’t know the exact specifics of why they closed. I have a lot of family members that went to Ferris, so they lived in those dorms and it’s kind of just sad to see that end,” Ferris information security and intelligence junior Marta Schick said.

However, the closing of those halls is a matter of supply and demand between available housing and student enrollment.

“It’s a question of if you’ve got so many beds to offer and you have fewer students than that, you need to be thoughtful about the cost to open and operate a building,” Scoby said.

Despite the empty buildings, North Hall was built in 2017, and set an enviable new standard that is difficult for the other residence halls on campus to match.

Ferris product design engineering technology freshman Katherine Fodor believes students in the honors program deserve nicer buildings similar to North Hall.

“It’s a slap in the face as an honors student, because for how hard we work, I feel like we deserve nicer, more technologically advanced buildings that are closer to our classes on campus,” Fodor said.