Daily 6 a.m. wake-up calls to the sweet sounds of construction for the residents living in the Prairie Quad have finally paid off, resulting in a newly refurbished residence hall. O’Shaughnessy Hall (O’Shag), located between Lee Hall and Johnson Hall, was closed for the last two semesters due to a $21.5 million renovation that lasted well over a year.
This renovation included the installation of an air-conditioning system, a glass-enclosed stairway and an apartment — which houses two faculty members, who are involved with the Living-Learning Community (LLC), Leadership and Social Change Residential College (LSRCRC), in the building.
This past summer, rooms in O'Shaughnessy were closed off to all freshmen choosing dorm rooms on campus. The purpose of this was to reserve spaces for the LLC, but after the cut-off, incoming students were able to reserve rooms in the building toward the later stages of the time slots. Many students were lucky, considering that this building is one of only 12 air-conditioned residence halls on campus.
Based on short interviews with a few residents, students living in O’Shaughnessy seem to have little to no complaints about the new building.
“The renovations here have definitely exceeded my expectations because I was expecting a simple dorm with AC, but not a dorm with great amenities, like the lounge and touchscreen TV, the sink and light-up mirror, the extremely clean bathrooms, or the kitchen and library on the first floor,” said freshman Maddie Tchong, business information technology major.
Along with the lounges, offices and classrooms, O’Shaughnessy also renovated the kitchen, which is located on the first floor. The kitchen is constantly being used, whether to bake cookies or host events, due to the spacious setting and clean equipment.
As mentioned earlier, O’Shaughnessy houses residents involved with the Leadership and Social Change Residential College (LSRCRC), directed by C.L. Bohannon, who lives on the first floor with his family. Another new edition this year is the second on-site faculty member, Taylor Henkel, who lives on the eighth floor. He attends all events and advises the resident advisers on each floor.
“It is comforting to know that a few of our leaders live among us and not only work for us, but also work with us in helping develop our leadership community,” said Camden Osborne, multimedia journalism major and freshman enrolled in the LSRCRC.
This year, the LSRCRC plans to use special interest houses — students grouped based on their specific social change passion, to make a difference in Blacksburg, and potentially, the world. O’Shaughnessy was built with amenities devoted to this program, such as a classroom and room used for public speakers and small-group activities.
The different families within the LSRCRC meet weekly to plan different events and complete activities devoted to the program, such as community outreach and service projects.
Throughout the year, construction will continue in minor segments in the building, such as painting and finishing up the bathrooms; however, the major development is finished. Construction will now transition to finishing the outdoor gym, located in Prairie Quad, which is planned to be finished by the end of this year. Fingers crossed for a quieter experience for the residents living in the Prairie Quad this year.