Centenary student organizations contribute to residence hall renovations
SHREVEPORT, LA — Several Centenary residence hall lobbies got a refresh this summer thanks to a fruitful collaboration between two major campus organizations, the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Residence Hall Association (RHA). Student leaders from both organizations were heavily involved in the planning process for the renovations and both groups provided significant funding to support the upgrades.
Following many months of planning and preparation, significant structural and aesthetic changes were made to the lobbies in Cline, Hardin, and Sexton Residence Halls beginning in the spring 2022 semester and continuing throughout the summer. In all cases, walls were removed and layouts were reconfigured to create more open and inviting spaces for students to socialize, study, and relax in their “home away from home.” Renovations included new laminate flooring, fresh paint, TVs, additional lighting, and eco-friendly furniture that is set to be ordered and delivered later this semester.
SGA president Jonathan Okereke and RHA president Karlie Delhommer helped to get the renovation project off the ground during the 2021-2022 academic year.
“We knew that within the last ten years, the James Hall lobby had gotten a nice renovation and was the sort of ‘prized’ residence hall as a result,” said Okereke. “We wanted to even the playing field between the rest of the dorms on campus and both SGA and RHA members were more than willing to support the project and to allocate funds.”
SGA decided to focus on renovations in Hardin and Sexton Halls while RHA focused on Cline. SGA contributed over $55,000 for its target areas and RHA earmarked $15,000 toward a renovation that transformed the Cline lobby, once dominated by the iconic “Fishbowl,” into a much more inviting and functional space.
“I have wanted to renovate Cline Residence Hall since I was a freshman!” said RHA president Delhommer. “My first year here, my friends and I had so many good times in the lobby. We studied, and built forts for movie night, but not many people really appreciated the space. It was small in some areas and not so cozy in others – nothing like the lobby in James, which was everyone’s favorite dorm. I remember talking to some people who had the opportunity to live in Cline for freshman year and decided not to, because of the lobby.”
When Delhommer became president of RHA and looked ahead to her senior year, she finally had an opportunity to pitch her idea. She found a willing partner in Okereke and SGA, and plans for the renovations got underway. In Cline Hall, the original Fishbowl, a glass room in the center of the lobby, was moved to a cozier spot where students could study in peace. The new open space received new floors and new paint, and new furniture will be added later in the semester.
“We want our students to have a comforting, relaxing environment for studying, hanging out with their friends, or whatever else they decide to do in their new spaces,” said Okereke. “So far, it all seems to have paid off tremendously. Students were shocked at how different the spaces looked from when they left last May to when they returned in August. We have truly transformed the look and feel of the lobbies.”
Delhommer has also heard many positive comments about the changes in Cline.
“People have complimented it and have even said they would want to live there over James now,” said Delhommer. “Which is the biggest compliment of all, I think!”
The College supplemented the money contributed by SGA and RHA with over $20,000 in capital funds to cover items such as new vinyl flooring and TVs for the lobbies. In addition to the dramatic transformation of the lobby spaces, capital funds also supported other residence hall updates and maintenance over the summer of 2022, including painting, new flooring in stairwells, new water fountains, and ADA compliance. The total investment in Centenary residence hall renovations in the past six months is over $150,000.
Centenary also completed the first phase of a $2 million overhaul of the A/C system in Cline Hall this summer. New systems equipped with thermostatic control for each student room have been installed in the south and west wings of the residence hall, with the north and east wings scheduled for installation beginning in May 2023. The Cline project also included installing a new hot water heating system.