PFT renovating first floor for all female move this fall

Painters working on renovations in the PFT lobby. PFT will be an all female dorm beginning the fall semester.

Elliott Pratt

Pearce Ford Tower is getting a new look to go along with its change coming in the fall semester.

Housing and Residence Life announced last fall that PFT would transform from co-ed to an all female dorm. This summer, HRL has worked to redesign the entire first floor of the building to match the change.

Kit Tolbert, director of Housing Operations, said that even though PFT remodeled the first floor a few years ago, it was appropriate to change it once again.

“We decided that since we were making it all female we wanted to soften it up even more,” Tolbert said. “Everything in there was plain blocks, so we’ve taken everything out to soften things up a bit.”

Ideas for the renovation were brought to HRL from former staff members of PFT and other all-female dorms. New flooring in the lobby and the elevators will be installed as well as new lighting fixtures.

Tolbert said the idea is to make PFT more like home.

“One of the things that came out was to change the lobby to look like an up-scale hotel or a living room,” Tolbert said. “So we’re putting in a fireplace and big sweeping lights. We thought about chandeliers, but this isn’t necessarily the building for those.”

The move to make PFT an all-female dorm not only brings a new look, but new personnel. Tolbert said three new staff members have been hired along with an additional person to manage the operations of the building, a position Tolbert said HRL has never had before.

“I think the personality of the building will change,” Tolbert said. “We feel like the fact that it was co-ed had its challenges to go with it because not everyone wanted the co-ed option. It was once all male, then changed to co-ed, and now it’s all female. So I feel like it will totally change the reflection of this area of campus.”

PFT received a $15 million renovation in 2009 to help change the perception of the dorm. That renovation and the move to make PFT an all-female dorm was made in part of the effort to rebrand its historically negative image.

Tolbert said it’s going to take a lot of time for the perception to change.

“We can’t say it’s changed and therefore it is,” Tolbert said. “This area of the campus is going to be used for programs and sidewalk people in for positive events, but time will be the teller on that.

“It’s going to take people getting here and seeing that it has changed and see that it’s not what it used to be.”