From Walsh to McVey: What is it Like?

Freshman students share their experiences on what moving during the school year is like for them 

Ava Stockstad, General Reporter

Construction for the newest dorm on campus has just concluded, and a flood of students have made the decision to move their belongings from Walsh to McVey. This year’s incoming students who chose to live in Walsh dormitory were promised to move into McVey at the end of the semester once construction was finished. Moreover, this past week, a handful of Walsh residents were given the go-ahead to move in early, and many of the new dorm suites are now inhabited by those who were eager to get into their new space.

Walsh Hall was first built in 1959 and contained 257 beds. Three years later, the hall was expanded to include another 164 beds. This suite style was a new layout for the dorms, and upon its arrival at the UND campus, Walsh was considered one of the largest and most modern dorms to be available to students. In fact, Wash was the first hall on campus to receive cable television in 1979, according to archival UND Housing information.

When it comes to the new addition to campus, McVey Hall is not a new name to the university. The first McVey Hall was built in the 1960’s and served as both an all-male and co-ed dorm throughout its time. After its demolition in 2021, the university promised a new McVey Hall that would be completed by the spring semester of the 2022-2023 school year.

So, what was the moving experience like? “We had the option of doing self-move-in, which gave us a week to move our own things into our new dorm. We also had the option to have a designated day where professional movers could transport our things,” says Kayla Stine, who just moved into McVey this past week. She chose to move her things herself, and the entire moving process only took her a day with the help of friends and UND Housing staff. For months, talk about the move into McVey had filled the halls of Walsh, and now, the transition was finally taking place.

McVey’s interior varies intensely from Walsh’s cramped hallways and common spaces. Modern kitchen and common areas, uncovered windows, and high ceilings make McVey’s dorm floors comparable to a hotel or expensive apartment complex.

“Moving into McVey was very similar to how it was moving into Walsh this past August. Luckily, this time, we got huge rolling bins to help us move a lot of our belongings at once. We did not have that when we moved into Walsh. There was not even an elevator,” Stine says.

When interviewing McVey resident Megan Erickson on what it was like for her to move her things, she said, “the move-in process was both easy and difficult. We chose to move in early and on our own, which was tricky and very tiring. Once everything had been moved over to McVey, staff made it very easy to bring everything into our dorm, which made transporting our belongings very smooth.”

On move-in day, staff stood outside in the rain and wind to guide vehicles through the parking lot and assist residents in bringing their things into the dorms. At Walsh, more staff and volunteers were outside to help answer questions and avoid traffic jams with the influx of cars in the area. Even amidst the brutally cold conditions, faculty members were dedicated to being helpers and supporters of students making the transition from dorm to dorm.

“McVey is a beautiful hall,” says Erickson. “The furnishings and room space are great. The size of the windows makes a huge difference.” On the first floor, the shared kitchen and common space is lined with windows. For now, residents get the sight of construction occurring just outside their dorm building, but in the future, the windows will look out on a courtyard area.

Erickson also reflected on the common spaces on each floor. “Also, when we were living in Walsh, we did not have much common space and now we do. We can finally get to know the people that live in our hall and on our floor.”

When talking to another freshman student, Marina Pendleton, she said, “the middle area that connects the suite is a lot bigger, which I love. It makes the space a lot more open and homier, along with the huge windows.”

It is no surprise that students value making connections with their neighbors, and after spending the first couple months with minimal common space, it makes sense that McVey residents are feeling hopeful to get to know those on their floor.

Even amidst all the wonderful improvements in McVey, new residents do have some minor complaints. Stine says, “My biggest personal complaint is the doors. It sucks that we cannot leave our suite door open for a few minutes if we wanted to.” The doors in McVey are heavy, and they automatically lock, which means suite doors are always shut and inaccessible without a key. While it is a thoughtful safety precaution, it can make things a bit harder for the dorm residents themselves. “The doors slam very loudly, and everyone can hear it. So far, I have not fully slept through a night because I can always hear slamming throughout the night.”

Pendleton also mentions a downfall of the dorm rooms. “Compared to Walsh, the furniture we get is much smaller, like the closet and desk. I have had to downsize my clothes, which is hard. Also, there is only one microwave in the entire building, and it is on the first floor. Living on the fourth floor makes it kind of tedious to go all the way down just to make a cup of ramen.”

Something else that could be important to note is the parking situation. McVey is closely connected to Brannon, Selke, and Noren, and residents in these dorms are given access to the H18 parking lot just outside these halls. While there is overflow parking across the street behind the Gorecki Alumni Center, cold weather makes walking to the dorms from the overflow parking lots an inconvenient and possibly dangerous task. Selke resident Aubree Koering says, “As a 5’4” female, having to park far away in the winter when it is dark is a scary thing. I am never able to find a parking space late in the evening because it is always full. I paid a lot of money for a parking pass ,and it is disappointing that I often cannot find convenient spots.” This is a struggle for many residents with cars on campus, and there has been concern about how much more difficult the parking situation will become with the influx of students in the shared parking lot.

With the demolition and rebuilding of McVey comes renovations with a handful of other residence halls. Bek and Hancock were just recently torn down and renovations across campus are underway. The reason for these demolitions and renovations is that the State Board of Higher Education approved a proposal from UND to tear down 35 of their buildings in order to make changes to campus structures. Squires and Walsh are also listed as residence halls that will be torn down. UND has a plan to spend $134 million in order to provide new and remodeled student housing, and the new McVey dorm is just one of the many new buildings we will be seeing on campus in the future.

Soon, we can hope to see a handful of dorms being upgraded. While the demolition of our campus’ historical halls may feel like a loss to so many students, the new dorms in UND’s future will hopefully introduce thousands more memorable moments for students in the years to come.

 

Ava Stockstad is a Dakota Student General Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected]