When first-year students, along with their seniority resident assistants, roam into Gulick Hall, they’re met with a percolating family-like atmosphere. A family-like atmosphere that no other first-year residence hall emits.
From the thin hallways just wide enough to narrowly fit two people, making it impossible to ignore those walking by, to the certainty of getting lost and asking a fellow Gulick resident for a sense of direction, Gulick Hall has provided plenty of memories and has been a staple in first-year living.
“Everytime I see the people from my floor freshman year, I stop and have conversations with them,” said junior Kevin Velazquez-Rivera, a former Gulick resident and RA.
“Even if I don’t see them all the time, I still remember the memories from that year. The best part about Gulick is you have no other option but to talk to your floor. You’re going to hear them, you’re going to see them. There’s no other option.”
Back in the September of 2018, during Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper’s annual All-College Meeting, she announced the colossal plan to reconstruct the famous first-year residence building.
“People love Gulick Hall, but the reality is that it’s not optimal for student living,” she said to the large crowd in Blake Arena. The plan included big, beautiful waterfront windows, benches and outdoor seating arrangements among many other state-of-the-art variations.
Over three years later, not only is the same old Gulick Hall standing strong, but there are now no current or immediate plans to transform it into an attractive, modern building like there once were, according to Springfield College Director of Facilities, Kevin Roy, who said, “we have no definitive plans for Gulick as of today.”
With that said, although there are no definitive plans, it surely can be implied that some form of conversation about the future of Gulick has taken place. Because of that, a lingering question has continuously come up: What’s more important? The long-lasting history, or the need for a new and improved space for first-year students?
Gulick Hall’s first form of construction came in the summer of 1968, with the intention of becoming the first dormitory building built to house both men and women, and was completed in the fall of 1969. A dedication to the building was held at the conclusion of the 1969-’70 school year, and the dorm officially opened for housing the following year.
The dorm is named after Dr. Luther Halsey Gulick, Springfield College’s first physical training department director, inventor of the inverted triangle, and creator of the Humanics philosophy, educating everyone in “spirit, mind and body.” Gulick Hall is the most iconic resident hall on campus, regardless of class. With nicknames such as “Gu” and “The Dirty Gu”, some of the best and most appreciable moments for students have occurred in the oddly-shaped building.
“The best part about Gulick is meeting so many different people when walking around the building,” Velazquez-Rivera said. “For the first two weeks, everyone has their doors open and it’s an inviting culture. Everyone is trying to meet as many people as possible. I’ve had some of the best memories and experiences in that building and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Unfortunately, Gulick Hall has encountered a laundry list of problems — problems that can’t be ignored when living there.
“I honestly believe they should fix it, because there are issues in that building without a doubt,” said Velazquez-Rivera. “Whether it’s the size of the halls and rooms or the size of the bathrooms, poor ventilation inside, the size of the windows, the list goes on and on. I get it though, that is a lot of money and it takes a lot of time.”
Today, Gulick Hall is responsible for housing almost half of the first-year student body, which makes it a daunting task to rebuild considering the time crunch. There simply is no place to put roughly 300 students while their new living quarters are being constructed.
“You just have no space to put people,” said Velazquez-Rivera. “Back in 2020 when we left in early March would have been the time to do it, because there was a six-month period where nobody was here. Granted, it is tough tearing it down, seeing how that whole building holds the largest amount of freshmen on campus. It leaves the school with no option to put these students.”
There are 25-30 people per floor in Gulick along with the 11 “floors”, or residential wings, that are each separated by a section of stairs. The overall makeup and design of the place is nothing short of unique, and the aforementioned history undisputedly makes for a harsh goodbye. Similar to the last three years, a close eye will certainly be kept on the fate of Gulick Hall as the 2021-2022 school year reaches its halfway point.
Photo Courtesy of Springfield College