Cedarville’s decision to close Faith Hall and replace it with a new women’s dorm will not destroy Faith’s legacy but rather continue it.
Cedarville University plans to tear down Faith, a women’s dorm established in 1957 from old army barracks, by the beginning of next school year. Rodney Johnson, associate vice president for operations, said the building has lived past its usefulness and cannot be renovated.
“Renovation would basically mean taking [Faith] down and starting over,” he said.
Teresa Tucker, resident director for both Faith and Murphy Halls, said she wasn’t surprised to hear this is Faith’s last year. Cedarville administration had already discussed the possibility of a closure with her when she first became RD three years ago.
“I think I was holding out, waiting for it,” Tucker said.
Despite knowing this event was coming, Tucker still said the news was bittersweet because Faith is her home and has been the home of many women throughout the years.
“People still look back at Faith, even when they’ve been long out of Cedarville University,” Tucker said.
Tucker said part of the reason for the residents’ strong memories and connection to the dorm is the fact that most Faith residents are freshmen. The first year at a college is very memorable, especially as students meet many of their friends there. For residents, many of their first college memories happened in Faith.
Another reason for residents’ strong connection to Faith, Tucker said, comes from the community within the dorm.
“It’s easier for community to be formed there just because it’s a smaller dorm, and so I think that it just makes it easier for people to get to know each other,” Tucker said.
Tucker described how even the layout of the dorm is more conducive for relationship building. Faith is built as a square, with a central courtyard that only residents have access to.
Tucker said the courtyard is a great place for both formal and informal dorm events, from the dorm’s annual fall festival to camping out. Faith also has a more recently renovated lounge with a fireplace where Tucker can often see residents hanging out.
“Our common areas are just where a lot of life happens,” Tucker said, “and that’s just been fun to watch.”
The location of the dorm also helps build community. Faith resident and RA Courtney Kalma described how being farther from the rest of campus brings the residents together.
“Everyone has to walk so far to get anywhere, so they tend to stay around,” Kalma said.
Kalma said she also appreciates the distance from the campus because she has a longer walk back to the dorm. The walk enables her to de-stress and process parts of her day. It also gives her an opportunity to form stronger relationships with the people who walk back to Faith with her.
“It’s a good way to have longer conversations with the people,” Kalma said.
Faith’s current location enables the dorm community to be more involved in the Cedarville town community because it’s closer to coffee shops and the park.
However, the location also places the dorm on the other side of Route 72 and in a very high-traffic area. Johnson said the public location was a major reason why the new dorm will be built on the other side of campus, near Murphy, Rickard, West and the townhouses, rather than in Faith’s current location.
Tucker said that the new location will allow the Faith community to be more involved with the rest of campus. On one hand, Faith is closer to many academic buildings, such as Tyler Digital Communication Center and the Engineering and Science building, compared to other dorms on campus.
On the other hand, Faith is frther from main activity areas such as the Stevens Student Center. As RD, Tucker said she has wanted the residents to feel like they are brought into campus.
“I think being closer to campus will eliminate some of [their] challenges,” Tucker said.
Upon the closure of Faith, Tucker will move to Murphy’s apartments and act as RA for both Murphy and the new dorm.
At the first chapel of the semester, Dr. Thomas White announced that the new dorm will have a 64-bed capacity broken into four units, each with a central living area, bathroom and study lounge. Johnson said that the layout was created based on the input Cedarville’s Student Life group received from students.
“They wanted the community feel of Lawlor and Printy but in rooms that were of better size and design,” Johnson said.
With the capability to hold only 64 residents, the new dorm with be one of the smaller dorms on campus, just as Faith is.
“[The new dorm] built strategically, from what it sounds like, to build Christian community,” Kalma said. “Which is kind of carrying on the legacy of Faith.”
While Kalma said she had no ideas where she will live next on campus, she said the new dorm would be a possible option.
Kalma said she is excited for the new dorm and the different opportunities it presents. However, she will miss Faith.
“The tearing down of Faith is similar in regards to anyone having their home torn down for the people that have stayed there for a long time,” Kalma said. “It feels sometimes like the memories get torn down with it, but that isn’t always the case: it doesn’t have to be. You just have to make the most of the memories you have left.”
Tucker said she has made it her goal for this final year in Faith to celebrate all that has happened in the dorm. She does not have any definite plans, but she wants to contact people who have previously lived in Faith and put their stories and memories together.
“There’s a lot of character, a lot of history [to Faith],” Tucker said. “it’s just really cool to be a part of that.”
Tucker also wants to create opportunities for the rest of campus to get involved with Faith. She plans on inviting the rest of campus out to various events or partnering with other dorms in such a way so that the residents of those dorms could come visit Faith. Tucker said that much of the campus has misconceptions about what Faith Hall is like.
“There are things often that are said about Faith, and they’re said without really knowing it, knowing the girls that live there, seeing firsthand what the building looks like,” she said.
Tucker said she hopes that over this next year, the rest of the campus will get to see what the Faith residents have seen and enjoyed during their time there. People interested in seeing Faith can either ask a Faith-residing friend to let them stop by or send Tucker an email to set up a visit.
“I want to know that I did my part to help it be remembered well,” Tucker said
Rebekah Erway is a junior English major and campus news editor for Cedars. She is a diehard Disney, Veggie Tales, and Lord of the Rings fan and enjoys speaking in a British accent.
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