Guilford says goodbye to Hodgins Retreat

Hodgins+Retreat+was+leased+in+Fall+2010.+Many+Hodgins+residents+have+enjoyed+the+benefits+of+living+in+an+apartment+that+has+large+bedrooms+with+walk-in+closets+and+individual+bathrooms.+%28Lucas+Blanchard-Glueckert%29

Hodgins Retreat was leased in Fall 2010. Many Hodgins residents have enjoyed the benefits of living in an apartment that has large bedrooms with walk-in closets and individual bathrooms. (Lucas Blanchard-Glueckert)

The Hodgins Retreat apartments have been an on-campus housing option for Guilford students since Fall 2010, operating through a two-year lease with Hodgins’ management. Recently, Guilford’s administration has decided that the college will not renew the lease for a third year.

“It will not be an option for next year and it was not terminated early,” said Aaron Fetrow, assistant vice president of administration and dean of students. “It was a two-year lease with an option for a third year that we simply did not exercise.”

This housing option quickly became a favorite among junior and senior students who valued its full-sized kitchen, living room, and bedrooms with large closets and personal bathrooms. The location, slightly removed from campus and bordering the football field, was also a draw for many students wishing to live off-campus but still remain within walking distance of their classes.

However, other concerns have been raised by students and Residence Life regarding the poor conditions of their apartments upon arrival. The carpets were not cleaned as promised in the lease. Additionally, the walls that needed painting were not painted, and repairs that needed to be made were not attended to.

“We were frustrated at the beginning of the year when the rooms weren’t move-in ready for our students and it took longer than it should have to get things fixed,” said Amanda Baum, hall director for Hodgins Retreat, Pope, and Campbell.

Maintenance and repair attention given to students’ concerns at Hodgins Retreat has not met the same standards as maintenance on the main campus.

“At Guilford, we work hard for the students,” said Joe Logan, a maintenance worker for the Guilford facilities department. “We work all day and sometimes overtime and on weekends. We try to fix their problems as soon as possible.”

The recreation scene at Guilford has also revolved around Hodgins‘ status. In 2009-10, Hodgins Retreat was not Guilford College domain and, as a result, the party scene sky-rocketed. Because Public Safety’s access was restricted, any legal enforcement was carried out by Greensboro Police. Underage drinking, drug use, and excessive noise resonated from the apartments every weekend, and Guilford, while at an arm’s length, was unable to enforce the Student Conduct Policy.

When Guilford signed the lease for two year sub-letted management of Hodgins Retreat, Public Safety cracked down on partying. Now that the lease will expire for Fall 2012, the potential for another extreme recreation environment is high.

“I am sure some partying will increase at Hodgins if we remove the HD and RAs,” said Fetrow. “But we hope it will be a bit subdued when compared to the year it opened because it will be predominantly seniors and not all Guilford students.”

The largest factor in this decision, however, was the empty beds throughout on-campus apartments. 

“Our primary concern, for budgetary reasons, is filling the beds we own on campus,” Fetrow said. “Empty beds equals lost revenue and that is revenue that we would have to recoup in tuition increases.”

After the lease expires, there will still be enough housing available on-campus for students, and the option to live off-campus with approval will remain intact.

As with most things, there are both pros and cons to the decision. While several students may miss the ease of having Hodgins Retreat as an on-campus housing option, budgetary and maintenance concerns outweighed the benefits of renewing the Hodgins lease for the administration.