As you walk through the halls of Hoff Hall, you may notice that it just smells, well new. The floor has yet to look run down by all the traffic going in and out all day and the walls are clearly freshly painted.
The tables, chairs, lighting, room numbers, even the glass enclosed stairwells all scream modern. There are communal “bar” sitting areas and study spaces throughout the building that add to the contemporary, yet comfortable style.
“The walls are colorful. It feels homey, not like a jail cell,” said Lizzi Cota, a senior at Castleton. She said also enjoys the space given by high ceilings in the rooms, which makes them seem more open.
Students say they also enjoy the new bathrooms and how they are set up. Shelly Audette, a sophomore, likes that the showers have separate stalls with a place to change. Other students spoke about the convenience of having a parking lot right in front of their residence.
And student Kerri Hoag said it’s nice having laundry on every floor; it eliminates the lugging up and down stairs. Other students agreed, but said they wish there would be more than two washers and dryers on each floor. Andre Coutu said the limited number often leaves people waiting.
“It’s a nice building to live in, but it still needs some things,” he said. “For instance, why bother putting air conditioning in and not using it?”
The choice was made to shut off the air conditioning to cut costs and save energy, school officials said.
Brand new buildings, just like anything else new deserve trial runs. Hoff Hall, without a doubt, is no exception. Area Coordinator Madeline Hope knows that there are still plenty of kinks to be worked out.
For example, an incident has already occurred regarding a safety wire on a third floor balcony. Hope, area coordinator for both Hoff and Adams Halls, assures that it was a minor incident and an easy fix. She says “things happen” and she, along with facilities will deal with them as they come.
As for the balconies, they are a great asset to the new dorm and just one of the many attractions for students competing to live there. The fact that they provide residents the opportunity to still get outdoors without even leaving their building is a huge plus, students say.
“I love my view of the sports fields,” said Hoag. Now a senior, she chose to live on campus to meet people her first year here and has since stayed on campus for that reason. Hoff certainly provides a great environment for that kind of activity.
“Each building on campus has a specific culture and it’s interesting to watch how Hoff is developing that,” said Hope. “It seems more social because it is corridor and the communal study spaces make it modern.”
President Wolk is thrilled with the new dorm. He says the solar panels on top of the building add to the modern scheme and the array is one of the largest in Vermont. The 120 panels generate 28.8 kilowatts of capacity, which, according to Castleton’s Dean of Administration, Scott Dikeman, can provide 1/10 of the college’s annual need.
The completion of Hoff Hall, named after former Vermont Gov. Philip Hoff, marks the endings of two very large projects on campus. The 10-year master plan is now complete as is Project 2012, which includes the new Facilities barn, the pavilion and Hoff Hall.