A classic dorm tale

The year was 1973 and I was a freshman entering Hesston College. Due to crowding in Kauffman Court, I was assigned to live in Erb Hall west. Our mod was the first group of males allowed to live in Erb Hall, and it appeared to me to be an upgrade as it placed us much closer to the female side of the campus community (a plywood wall kept us separate), and Erb Hall was air-conditioned and Kauffman Court was not.

Jim Mason
Jim Mason

As it turned out, life in Erb was all that I hoped it could be. We had a varied and diverse group of occupants who got along very well and made sure that dorm life was never dull.

Fast forward to the present where I am now responsible for the care and maintenance of that same dorm room I occupied 37 years ago. The single pane windows that would weep all year long and freeze into a thick layer of frost on the inside during the winter months have been replaced with energy efficient windows. A new insulated roof has been added, and the bathrooms were completely renovated this past summer.

The remaining carpet and furniture can only be described as “vintage” as they are exactly the same as when I lived there. Further, and most importantly, the 42-year-old piping is failing, and the leaks are a challenge to repair.

There are positives as well. The Erb structure is still very sound, the rooms are spacious by today’s standards and the mod layout is effective.

I look forward to replacing the “vintage retro” of Erb central and west with modern and comfortable materials and equipment.

The college has shown great stewardship in maintaining and getting maximum utility out of this living area. Put simply: we have gotten our money’s worth, but the need for new investment is here.