(Photo courtesy of UMass Lowell) “Inside a Sheehy Hall two-person dorm.”
On Friday, April 7, UMass Lowell students received an email from Residence Life stating the closure of Sheehy Hall for the upcoming 2023 fall semester. Sheehy Hall is one of four dorm buildings on South Campus and houses 250 students. In February of this year, a water pipe burst in the building, displacing several students and flooding several floors. Since the disaster, construction has been active inside Sheehy.
Per their email, Residence Life says, “Sheehy Hall will not be available during the housing selection process later this month. We do not want students to select a room and then later find out that repairs will not be completed for their unit.” With room selection for upperclassmen on its’ way and Sheehy being a large dorm, what does this mean for students who had planned to live there next semester?
Associate Director of Residence Life, Micheal Bliss Jr., says the closure of Sheehy is out of care for students. “We are unsure when Sheehy will be ready, so are operating out of caution. If it was reopened early summer, mid-summer, late summer, or fall, all of those would have different impacts on student choice and availability going forward,” says Bliss.
While some students enjoy the suite-style dorms offered in Sheehy, there are still other dorm options on South Campus. Concordia Hall contains singles and double dorms for students; and Riverview Suites East and West offer suite and apartment style living. These dorm offerings cover most of the level ratings UMass Lowell offers. Sheehy Hall is a Rate 2 dorm option: the only one on South Campus.
“Students who want Rate 2 have other options than just Sheehy. And of course, everything as well in Rate 1 that is less than Rate 2,” says Bliss on this matter.
The other Rate 2 dorm option is Donahue Hall, the suite style building that is almost exactly like Sheehy and is located on East Campus. Donahue houses 341 students and is a great alternative for those looking for the suite options UMass Lowell offers.
The closure of Sheehy Hall has resulted in new room selection options for some students. Those who were directly affected by the flooding from the pipe burst were offered the first time slot for room selection and room retention – the ability to stay in the same dorm with the same roommates. “There are a lot of variables involved. For example this year, we brought room retention back online after a few years of it being away. So for the first time in a cycle, some students have retained their rooms,” says Bliss. Room retention was brought back to take away some of the competitiveness of room selection.
The opening date of Sheehy Hall is yet to be seen, but Residence Life plans to keep students up to date as the construction moves forward. They plan to allow students into the dorms in Sheehy as soon as possible. “Our hope is to be able to provide an opportunity for students to perform a room swap into the building as rooms are completed. We expect that this will not happen until later in the summer and will notify all current students when we are able to make rooms available within Sheehy Hall,” says Residence Life in their most recent email. Residence Life urges students to roommate match and follow the room selection protocols to secure their living space on campus and not wait to see if Sheehy Hall will open.