UMass Dartmouth’s Original Residence Halls Are Coming Down
With the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's new first-year residence halls fully operational following the pandemonium caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, alumni from the school's early days may think fondly of time spent living at the school's original residence halls.
The new campus housing replaces four residence halls – Elmwood, Maple Ridge, Chestnut, and Roberts – that opened between 1972 and 1976. That was when UMass Dartmouth was known as Southeastern Massachusetts University (SMU).
The $134 million Balsam and Spruce residence halls opened in the fall of 2020. According to the school's website, the 267,500-square-foot residence halls have 1,210 beds, general academic classrooms, multimedia and study lounges, a demonstration kitchen, and recreation spaces.
The buildings share a common dining area, The Grove.
The Balsam and Spruce housing is within Ring Road that loops around the academic campus, not across the street like the older residence halls they replace. The website says this "brings student life closer to the center of campus and creates an energy that the entire UMassD community will feel."
In a November 2018 op-ed piece for the school's newspaper, The Torch, Ben Pfeffer wrote of "black mold growing in Maple Ridge," and said, "Elmwood has showers where I would rather stand in the rain." Pfeffer said the Chestnut residence hall was "the worst," citing allegations of "excrement coming out of the showerheads."
Heavy equipment is demolishing the original dorm space on the outer edges of Ring Road. For some with fond memories of the "old days," it must be sad to see it go.