COLUMN: What to do with Eastern’s vacant building, Carman Hall


Ellen Dooley

Ellen Dooley, Columnist

You may notice a vacant building on your way to Greek Court or Textbook Rental. Vaguely reminds you of Andrews Hall or Lawson Hall, right? That building is Carman Hall. You might think, “Well, I did not see that option on my housing contract.”

Carman Hall was a resident hall that was finished construction and welcomed residents in the early 70’s. The two towers were ten stories tall and were connected by a dinning center. One tower was for male residents and one was for female residents. This was known as the “freshman dorm” because the majority of freshman students were required to live there for their first year.  

Due to a decrease in enrollment, Carman Hall was closed in the Summer of 2013. There are no residents who live in the building, but the building is still being used. ROTC students used the building to learn skills after it closed. The hall is also used for storage.  

Imagine if Carman was still used. We would have another dining option, along with a dorm option. What if we used Carman as an alternative to what we have now? Carman has not been used since 2013 for residential use, so some deep cleaning and renovations may be needed.  

What if Carman went from frozen in 2013 to a brand new, modern living space? Brand new furniture and modern bathrooms. What if there was a lounge with computers and study materials? There could be high tech areas that allow students to study like never before.  

After we shake away the cobwebs, we could implement special aspects into the building or by floor. Imagine one wing was pet friendly? Not only a space for service animals, but just pets! I know I would love my cats to visit EIU from home.  

Like McKinney’s Doug DiBianco Community, there could be more opportunities for students. We are everchanging in who we are. Shouldn’t we have a community that fosters that energy? There could also be communities like the Gender Inclusive community. What if there was one for those with medical needs? Whether it be severe allergies or even life-threatening conditions like epilepsy. Those communities could have more RAs with medical training.  

There are some problems with the actual location of the building. It is pretty far out there. The walking distance could be a lot for students, especially in the heat or cold. Having a dining center there would eliminate some of the worry, but it still could be an inconvenience. 

There are a lot of improvements to campus living that could come about with reopening Carman Hall. In reality, it would not be financially smart to open such a big building with the enrollment we are at. But who knows, we may have to reopen in the future. But for now, we will give love to our beloved South Quad, Triad, Pemberton, Stevenson Complex, and Greek and University Court.

Ellen Dooley is a freshman special education major. She can be contacted at 581-2812 or [email protected].