Renovations to oust Slade occupants

The days of Slade Hall as it currently stands are numbered. 

Slade Hall, whose residents say their close relationships make it feel more like a house, has made a reputation on its alternative-style residential space over its 80-year history. 

In early October, the house received a letter from Residential Life stating that it would be closed for the spring semester for an unknown period of 12-24 months owing to extensive renovations.  

 “Aside from minor cosmetic and fire safety upgrades, it is a building that has never had a renovation since its original construction in 1928,” director of Residential Life Stacy Miller said.

While the known issues of Slade are numerous- there is water damage to the building’s foundation, the slate roof needs repair, its wood trimmings are falling apart and there are ongoing rodent and insect infestation problems, Miller said- its residents are committed to having a say in the process. 

Some students took to posting in the Slade Hall open Facebook group, commenting on an image of Residential Life’s letter uploaded Oct. 7. 

“I think it’s important that Slade stays on campus,” wrote sophomore Griffin Jones, adding that the house served as an introduction to Co-Op living for many students. “Without an on-campus presence, I think the community will lose a lot of exposure.”

“Those currently living in the building should have a voice in the renovation so that through this process, the building receives minimal changes, maintaining its character for years ahead,” Andrew Schlesinger wrote. 

“Residential Life has been discussing renovating Slade for many years,” said Miller.  “I have not yet had an opportunity to speak directly to Slade residents, but intend to have a face-to-face meeting with them in the near future.”

Slade residents declined to talk to the Cynic, but all will have fulfilled their four -semester residency requirement by the spring so none would be forced into another dorm unless they chose to do so. 

Both the administration and students agree that Slade is a residence hall with a legacy worth preserving. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Vermont-born jam band Phish had their first gig at Slade Hall on Nov. 23, 1983. 

 It was in the basement and consisted of a collection of Who songs and an encore edition of “Proud Mary”.  Several other performances by Phish were at Slade Hall throughout the years that the band members lived and performed in Vermont. 

 “As we continue to renovate and upgrade all of our residential facilities, it is with the intent of improving the overall quality of life for students,” said Miller.  “Great examples of these are Harris/Millis and MAT.”

Renovations of Harris/Millis and MAT resulted in changes to regular safety and infrastructure as well as higher quality lounge and academic areas for students.   Slade Hall is likely to experience similar cosmetic upgrades.  The future is uncertain due to the unknown amounts of damage to the building, but in the next year or two, Residential Life plans to get it back up and running.

“We look forward to bringing it back online in the near future,” said Miller.