How the Harper Hall Renovations have Affected Students in Residence

A look into the new residence features added this year

Harper Hall is a well-loved residence on campus that has been home to many students since its opening almost six decades ago. Sadly, it will be closed to residents until the fall of 2024 while the building undergoes renovations.

Originally built in 1965, Harper Hall included single rooms, ensuites, and shared communal bathrooms. Once the renovations are completed, Harper will have more ensuites with shared and private washrooms, similar to the layout in Windsor Hall. According to Donna Hurley, the Director of Administrator Services, “the renovations are designed to meet the needs of future students.”

Accordingly, alternative means of residence were needed to accommodate for the space lost by Harper Hall’s temporary closure. Most notable is the expansion in Mt. A.’s small residence community, which includes a group of houses located off-campus that are affiliated with the university. Three new residences have been added to the community, which previously only consisted of Anchorage House; Carriage House, Bermuda House, and Charlotte House. Charlotte House has not been used as a student residence in over a decade and consequently required renovations this past summer. Bermuda House and Carriage House were used as quarantine spaces and short-term housing options for new staff and faculty before they joined the small residence community. The four houses host about 118 people and are composed of students in all years of study.

There are a few features that make the small residence communities stand out when comparing them to apartments in downtown Sackville. They are very close to the main campus facilities and include a variety of choices for meal plans, which can be convenient for students who don’t have a lot of time to cook for themselves. They also have internet, kitchenettes, daily custodial cleaning, and free laundry services.

Saskia Leissner, a first-year international exchange student from Germany, is one of only seven students living in Carriage House. Leissner originally applied for a single room, but she was placed in a double room. She said that in Germany, it is very unusual to share a room with another person, but despite this fact, she has settled in comfortably. Leissner has decided to make the best of her situation; instead of being upset about having a double room, she is excited to have the “college movie experience.” But how do the houses in the small residence community compare to the bigger residences that are located directly on-campus?

When asked about social life, Leissner grinned and said that she is very close with the other people in Carriage House. They typically eat with each other at Jennings and play games together in their lounge. Leissner added that even though she is part of the small residence community, it has not been hard to meet other students who live on campus. Leissner described the atmosphere of Carriage House as usually quite quiet and spacious, even with the small size of the residence. Overall, Leissner said that living in a small community residence has been a positive experience and that she would recommend it to other students for its “homey” environment.

There have been changes on-campus in addition to those in the small residence community. Some areas of campus residences were converted to allow for more space, including Campbell Hall, where previously single rooms are now being used as double rooms.

Brandon Godin, a first-year student from Caraquet, New Brunswick, is one of the students on campus living in this situation. Godin’s room contains a bunk bed, two desks, two dressers, a mini-fridge, and a microwave, and is described by the student as “feeling tight.” He estimates that it is about half the size of a normal double room in Campbell, and that “it doesn’t give [him] much space for [his] personal things.” Due to the small dimensions of the room, Godin and his roommate do not always agree on certain things involving their shared space. Godin also mentioned that he misses the privacy of his own room at home.

Despite these unforeseen difficulties, Godin says that he is glad about his current living situation. Having received all his previous education in French, the first-year student remarked that having a roommate has helped him strengthen his English skills. Due to this language barrier, Godin’s main challenge since arriving at Mt. A. has been trying to fit in with other people but remarked that it is “starting to get better overall.” Furthermore, Godin says that he likes the social aspect of having a roommate because it has helped him come out of his comfort zone, in addition to helping him deal with the sad and overwhelming emotions of being away from home. All in all, Godin is happy to be part of the Campbell family and said that “it is comforting not to be alone in this adventure.”

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