348 Minton residents spend weekend relocating

Lily disassembles her dorm room after being told Thursday she would have to evacuate the Minton Residence Hall. Her roommate had already moved out and Lily said she was concerned as to how or where she and her friends were going to hang out together after each was placed in a different dorm.

Nicole Ziege & Emily De Letter

This weekend, 348 students moved out of their dorm rooms in Minton Hall and relocated to various residence halls across campus. With just five weeks left in the semester, many students were upset by the news and process.

Wednesday, Nov. 7

8 p.m.

Freshman Lily Breitenstein gathered with other residents of Minton Hall for a mandatory meeting.

Neither the residents nor resident advisers knew what the meeting was about. Lily, a nursing major from Louisville, said WKU Housing and Residential Life informed them that due to mold, the building would be closed starting Sunday for the rest of the semester to complete maintenance repairs. Residents were reassigned to new residence halls and often given new roommates. Minton will be reopened Jan. 19, 2019.

“I was sort of shocked at first, and everyone else was too,” she said. “None of us had any idea what to expect, and we’re so far along already in the semester. I have a few exams coming up that I really need to study for, but this has been really stressful.” 

Lily said she was worried at first about staying with her initial randomly assigned roommate Alecia Hatfield. She said the two of them had grown close during the year. She said they would watch movies, sing “dumb” songs loudly and spend time just talking.

“Once I got to know Alecia, everything was great,” she said. “It was fun having a friend in the same room. It was a lot like camping, but for a really long time.”

Thursday, Nov. 8

12 p.m.

Minton residents were told they could access their new residence hall assignments and roommates through the WKU Housing Portal by the afternoon. 

6 p.m.

Lily received notice that her new residence hall and roommate had been posted. She had been moved to Rodes Harlin Hall across campus, a place she had never been to prior. She was placed with a new roommate. 

“[Rodes] is far away from some other people, but it’s all right, I guess,” she said. “I am closer to Snell, which is good because I have a lot of classes there.”

Friday, Nov. 9

1 p.m.

Lily returned to Minton after her classes and began to pack her room. Hatfield was assigned to Pearce-Ford Tower and had already moved out. The two “shared custody” of a betta fish named Ellie whom Lily would be taking to her new room in Rodes. 

Lily said she was excited to meet her new roommate, Amanda Lindsey. The two had communicated after the room assignments but had yet to meet face-to-face.

2 p.m.

Lily continued packing. She lived on the ninth floor in Minton, but elevators that day were moving slowly due to the number of residents moving out. The building’s lobby was crowded with students, parents and HRL employees.

Procedures for move-out began Friday and lasted until Sunday. All 348 students were placed in other residence halls around campus. HRL provided large cardboard boxes and dollies to residents to help with the move.

Saturday, Nov. 10

8 a.m.

Lily began to do laundry. All Minton residents were instructed to wash everything: clothes, bedding, pillows or anything else that could carry mold spores to their new spaces. HRL told residents that free laundry would be provided in Minton and their new residence halls. Lily said the laundry room was packed. It took her about four hours to wash everything she needed.

12 p.m.

Lily’s mother, Jill Breitenstein, arrived in Bowling Green after driving down from Louisville to help Lily with the move. Jill, a teacher with Jefferson County Public Schools, originally planned to go on a camping trip but canceled to help her daughter.

Jill said the move was not what she was expecting for Lily’s first year at WKU.

“It’s not what we were expecting for her at all,” she said. “I’m glad [Minton] is going to be cleaned and better when they come back. I keep telling Lily that it’s just for a little while.”

12:30 p.m.

Lily packed the fish tank last of all other items in the room. Jill waited in the lobby next to two large cardboard boxes containing everything from her room.

12:40 p.m.

Lily turned in her key to the front desk and completed checking out of Minton. An HRL staff member explained that her boxes would be loaded on a truck and transported to Rodes. They said they would call her cell phone when her items arrived.

12:55 p.m.

A WKU golf cart transported Lily and Jill from Minton to Rodes. Lily rode in the back clutching the fish tank.

1 p.m.

Lily and Jill arrived at Rodes. Lily checked into her new room on the sixth floor. The first thing she did was plug in the tank. Second, she lifted the ceiling tile above her bed to check for mold. Nothing.

1:30 p.m.

Lily got a call that her items arrived. Jill and Lily went down to the lobby, pushed the cardboard boxes to the elevator and began to unpack and organize her new room.

2:25 p.m.

In order to fit her mini fridge in the new space, Jill suggested Lily change the position of her desk. Lily seemed unsure about the change.

“It’s only for a little while,” Jill said.

2:40 p.m.

Lily went down to the laundry room to finish drying pillows and a stuffed animal that were not completely dried in the Minton dryers. She said laundry would be free in this building, but she still had to pay $1.50.

“This is what happens when you have to pack up everything and move,” she said. “The last couple of days have been pretty chaotic.”

Lily is one of the 348 Minton residents whose weekend was disrupted by the relocation to a new residence hall around campus.

Louisville freshman Matthew Quinn had a private room on the seventh floor of Minton Hall. He received the news about the mandatory relocations on Wednesday night, and his parents were unable to come down to help him move out due to the short notice. He relocated to a private room on the third floor of Bemis Lawrence hall.

Quinn said a lot of the frustration he and other students felt was because of the timing of the relocations.

“Why are we having to move with four weeks left in the semester?” Quinn said. “It throws everyone off their game at a crucial point in the semester. If we had extra time to prepare for this, it would have been better.” 

When Louisville freshman Paxton Vaughn heard about the relocations, she said she was upset about being separated from her roommate, who originally influenced her to come to WKU.

“I was just stressed because I knew my roommate really well,” Vaughn said. 

Vaughn moved from the fourth floor of Minton to the 23rd floor of PFT. Vaughn’s parents were unable to help her move because of the short notice. 

“The stress of moving is definitely the hardest part for me,” Vaughn said.

Richmond freshman Sophie Austin returned from soccer practice on Wednesday night to her dorm room on the ninth floor of Minton Hall and said she was shocked to hear the news of Minton’s closure.

Austin said some girls on her floor were crying after hearing the news, while others were angry.

“At first, I didn’t think it was true,” Austin said. “We had heard rumors about it. It’s just really stressful to have to move into a new dorm when we also have classes and other things.”

Austin said she and the other residents had to sign up for a check-out time to move out on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Austin was relocated to the 22nd floor of PFT.

Regarding her schoolwork, Austin said she had a paper due on Friday in her honors class. Her professor extended the deadline to Sunday evening after learning about the situation. Austin said she also had to study and complete other homework assignments on top of now having to move out of the building.

Austin said her friends and her parents were able to help her move her belongings to PFT. 

“When I called my parents and told them about it, they were shocked,” Austin said. “They couldn’t believe it. We were all upset because it was so sudden.”

Reporter Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.

Reporter Emily DeLetter can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @emilydeletter.