Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Mallet Assembly to move buildings during summer 2014′

During summer 2014, the Mallet Assembly will be forced to leave their current residence in Palmer Hall, which is slated to be demolished, and relocate to another area on campus.

Although this is not the first time the assembly has been required to change housing, students are concerned because they don’t know where they are going to live when they have to leave.

“It has been a stressor on the assembly, I think, not knowing whether or not we would get to stay in our building, and now that we do know the building is coming down, trying to find a new place that would be appropriate for the assembly has been quite a process,” Marina Roberts, a junior majoring in accounting who serves as the president of Mallet Assembly, said.

Roberts said the assembly has been looking into various locations around campus to possibly relocate to, such as the Bryce Lawn property, the Kilgore House or even potentially trying to build their own environmentally friendly dorm.

“It’s basically an evolving idea, and it’s one that we’re very excited and enthusiastic about, but, of course, none of these things are confirmed, and none of them are things that we formally have permission from the University to do,” Roberts said. “Our ability to pull these things off is also contingent upon our ability to pay for it.”

Cathy Andreen, the director of Media Relations, said Housing and Residential Communities will help the Mallet Assembly, as it does with all Living-Learning Communities, to determine an appropriate location to live.

Roberts feels they haven’t received much advice from the University, not because they don’t want to give any, but because there isn’t currently a place suitable for the assembly to move to.

“I’ve had meetings with housing, as has the president before me and the president before him, and I think the University’s problem is that there are legitimately no other buildings to put us in,” Roberts said. “Because the University has been on this path of expansion, and it seems like the intention is to knock down all of the older, traditional-style dorms and replace them with the much larger, suite-style dorms, there are no buildings small enough to house the Mallet Assembly left.”

Roberts believes Palmer Hall is part of the University’s “path of expansion,” and it is her understanding that the University will demolish both Palmer and Somerville halls to create a walk-through garden similar to the one at Marr’s Spring.

“My understanding is just that the upkeep of these buildings – because they are so old – is not worth the money they’re getting from students living in the buildings and paying rent. To be fair, they are very old buildings,” Roberts said. “James Hood was the first African American male student to be admitted to the University, and during his time here, he lived in Palmer Hall, so that dates the buildings pretty well. They are very old, and they’re kind of falling apart on the inside, so it’s understandable that the University is demolishing them.”

This is not the first time the Mallet Assembly has been relocated. Roberts said they have moved around a lot since their arrival in 1961. Their first residence hall was Mallet Hall, and from there, they moved to Byrd Hall, both of which have been demolished.

“The way that I feel about it is that I wish the University had a building that was the Mallet Assembly’s building, a building that it didn’t have to share, a building that it didn’t have to worry about being demolished in the very near future, that the assembly knew would be its home and wouldn’t be taken out from under us,” Roberts said.

Bill Baggett, who worked at the University as a counselor in the original Mallet Hall and participated in its opening while pursuing a graduate degree at the Capstone, believes this expansion is forward progress for the University and is essential to appealing to future students.

“It’s a nostalgic part of me that hates to see the building torn down, but by the same token, it’s progress. I think it has to be done, and I think it’s a good thing because there will be new opportunities,” Baggett said. “After being on campus recently, I am so impressed with the growth of the University, and that appeals to students to want to come and be a part of the institution.”

After experiencing the demolition of the former Mallet Hall, Baggett understands that changes must be made, and he is just happy to have memories of the old buildings.

“I love the place and hate to see it go, but progress is important, and I can go back and tell people, ‘Hey, that used to be there.’”

Roberts feels as though the Mallet Assembly needs a home that can be affordable for everyone.

“What the Mallet Assembly needs is its own building, and it needs to be autonomous. We would prefer that it be a traditional-style dorm, and we would also prefer to keep our housing costs down. For a lot of the members of the assembly, living in suite-style dorms is just not feasible,” Roberts said. “There are a lot of bargaining points and a lot of things that we need, and it’s not that the University is not willing to give them to us; it’s just that the University doesn’t have them right now.”


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