Even as some touch-up work is being done to officially finish Marietta College's Harrison Hall, 350 seniors, juniors and sophomores are calling it home.
"It's basically like living in a nice hotel," said Scott Kimmey, a senior from Olmstead Falls. "You can do basically everything you need to on your floor."
Kimmey shares an apartment-style space with three other students in the $24 million, 105,000-square-foot building, constructed over the last year at the corner of Seventh and Putnam streets. The apartment quarters occupy one-third of the building, with the other living areas consisting of suites for two students, with one bathroom serving two suites instead of having communal restrooms.
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Resident assistant Kristen Onkka reads Friday in one of the common areas in Marietta College’s Harrison Hall.
Each room is furnished with a pair of loft beds with dressers and desks, which residents can lay out however they see fit to maximize space.
"The students are getting pretty creative with how they're trying to arrange their rooms," said Ellen Campbell, associate dean for student life.
There is a laundry area and kitchen on each floor, along with multiple activity rooms and study areas. The latter are a favorite of sophomore Heather Booth, from Newport.
If you go
What: Community open house for Harrison Hall, Marietta College's newest residence hall.
When: Tours from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; dedication of Harrison Hall and the Dr. J. Michael Harding Center for Health and Wellness at 11 a.m.
Where: Seventh and Putnam streets, entrance is on the campus side.
"I go in there more than I probably go to the library because it's so convenient," she said.
Booth said she also appreciates the air-conditioning, a luxury she didn't have in freshman housing last year.
Senior Joe Mahoney, of Jeannette, Pa., said he's impressed with some of the innovations in the facility.
"They have a lot of energy-saving things like ... automatic lights, and I think they used the windows real well to eliminate the need for the lights in the first place," he said.
Students are already developing new traditions and jokes about the building, Campbell said, such as referring to the unfinished pergola in front as "platform 9 3/4," a reference to the magical portal used to board the train to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter series of books.
Programming planned for Harrison this year focuses on the theme of transitioning from college to the "real world" and will include topics like finding a job, finding an apartment and paying taxes, Campbell said.
The building was named for Charles Sumner Harrison, the college's first black graduate, and his brothers, who also graduated from MC.
Harrison Hall is also the site of the Dr. J. Michael Harding Center for Health and Wellness, a health care and mental health facility named in honor of Harding, a professor, psychologist and director of the school's counseling center, who died last year. Tom Perry, director of college relations, said an on-campus medical site has been requested by students for a while, and Campbell noted it was one of multiple concepts in the new facility in which Harding had a hand.
"It's a testament to how much he loved working for Marietta College and ... he put students first at all points in time in his daily work," she said.