(Felice Smith)

By Taylor Pettit

After undergoing a year of cosmetic and structural renovations, Walters Hall has finally opened its doors. And for many, the changes brought a welcome new look to the dorm hall.”I love it, I lived in Walters three and a half semesters when I was in school, so I look down the hall and can’t believe it,” said Kenna Middleton, director of housing. “We really went in a different direction with Walters.”

Walters’s cosmetic changes have maintained the ski-lodge style lobby, but have been updated it with a fresh color scheme.

“The paint colors are extra warm, like something you’d see in your home. I love the colors,” Middleton said.

The color palette of the new building includes browns and golds. Middleton said that she would like to continue the color palette and unique style of Walters in other buildings around campus. “I’m ready now,” Middleton added. “Walters has shown you can use a richer color.”

In addition, the lobby loft has been made handicap accessible with lounge seating. “We’re getting the TV, board games-something like ping pong, less noisy than pool-for the lounge area,” Middleton said.

The eight-floor building, with the capacity for 380 students, houses both men and women. And the building is now one of two upperclassmen-designated dorms on campus. Walter’s basement has been renovated with a quiet study space, laundry, and vending machines. Each floor also has a lounge or study area and a kitchen.

The renovations to Walters cost $11 million–about $1 million more than originally budgeted. Middleton said the cost overruns were the result of unanticipated infrastructural changes that needed to be made, including new brick work, new windows, and upgrades to the building’s electrical system. “Getting inside to that infrastructure is where some high ticket things come in,” she said.

Although the building is open, it still has a few wrinkles to be ironed out, Middleton added. Currently, temporary desks are being used in approximately 50 of the rooms. New desks, computers for the lab, and microwaves for the kitchens should arrive within the next two weeks, Middleton said.

Despite the few missing amenities, students so far have given high praise to the Walters facelift.

“I love it, everything is brand new, nothing’s messed up yet, and its upperclassmen so it’s a lot quieter,” said Brianna Muck, a senior English major from Florence, Ky. Muck said that one of the best things about the renovations is the counter and storage space. “There has to be at least three or four feet of counter space by the sink, per person.”

Zach Raque, a sophomore Aerospace Management major from Louisville, Ky., said the changes are a “huge step up” from what he’s accustomed to in the dorms. Still, he’s not entirely sold on the brown and gold.

“I don’t really know how I feel about the colors,” Raque said. “But at least it’s not pink.