On March 23, over 60 high school juniors came to the Baldwin City campus to look at Baker University as a possible choice to go to college.
On the tour, given by Baker University Admissions Assistants, prospective students were able to see some of the main buildings on campus, including Harter Union, newly renovated Denious Hall, Collins Library and the construction on Mulvane Hall.
What some of the male students also got a chance to see were the living arrangements provided by Gessner Hall.
Gessner Hall has been the home to thousands of male students at Baker over the past few decades, but the dormitory has started to show its age.
On multiple occasions, students have been forced to go to other places on or off campus to shower because the hot water has not worked in Gessner.
There are also issues with mold and broken windows and pipes.
Maintenance has fixed the hot water issue each time, but repairing it temporarily is not good enough. The fact that the Baker administration has given students pizza to try to help compensate for there not being hot water to use has frustrated some students who live in Gessner.
For both current and future Baker students, the necessities of a place to live should be the least of their concerns while attending college.
The condition of Gessner should be a top concern for the Baker administration.
Visiting students could be impressed by what their expected major has to offer, the success of Baker athletics and the improvements made to buildings like Denious and Mulvane, but if they cannot afford to live in the New Living Center, they will have to deal with the problems in Gessner.
It is hard to say how long it would take to fix everything in Gessner, but if it can’t all be done in the summer, there is another temporary solution available. The majority of the rooms in the basement of Irwin Hall are unoccupied. If most of the needed repairs are completed over the summer, it should not be a big issue to have current and/or future Baker students live in the basement of Irwin for the fall semester of 2012 and then give them the option to move into Gessner after the semester is over, assuming the renovations are complete.
With the economy making it tough to come up with money for these renovations, the university needs to reach out to other areas like Darcy Russell and Ivan Boyd did when they solicited the funds for the Mulvane project.
If the thousands of students who have lived in Gessner over the years saw the current condition of the building, there is a good chance that some of them would donate money to improve the dormitory.
The temporary changes are not adequate. The students living in Gessner deserve better than that.