Dormitories On Campus
Robins Memorial Hall
Robins Memorial Hall was completed on May 16th, 1959 in time for the following school year. This dormitory addressed a pressing need for more housing for students, but also included an infirmary with all “modern” facilities. The building was designed by Carneal and Johnston and cost around $400,000 to construct. The funding for the building was included in the large donation by E. Claiborne Robins, however the building was named in memory of, and dedicated to his mother, Martha Taylor Robins. In early 1958 when the plan for the new dormitory was announced, the university was struggling to house its growing number of students. This building allowed living space for 80 male students and with this addition, UR would be able to house 400 men in three permanent residence halls, and 120 in three temporary wooden buildings. The design of the building is consistent with the collegiate gothic style that makes up most of the buildings on campus.
With the inclusion of a 16 bed infirmary, The University of Richmond provided a service “unexcelled by any institution in this part of the country”. The first floor consisted of a lounge for students, guest rooms, quarters for a dormitory matron and nurse, a ward for ill students, as well as examination rooms. This was quite an accomplishment for the University and the ability to take care of sick students on campus proved to be very useful.
Robins Hall was eventually converted into an all female residence hall and the infirmary was turned into more dorm rooms, allowing for the occupancy to increase to 100 students. In 2002, residents welcomed this change because it allowed for more interaction between male and female students. This conversion was apart of the effort to integrate the Richmond and Westhampton sides of campus.
Minor renovations occurred in 2005 to add air conditioning, however aside from the removal of the infirmary, only slight changes to the floor plan were made.
During the January of 1968, the University of Richmond received approval for a $680,000 contract for the construction of a new dorm building that would be the new home to 150 male undergraduate students. After Moore Hall was built, the university was able to take down the temporary World War II barracks that were used as overflow housing. The addition of this building to campus increased the number of men able to live on campus to 900 and with a student population that was growing quickly, new housing was a necessity on the Richmond campus. In May 1969, this building was dedicated to T. Justin Moore, a distinguished lawyer who also served as a former member of the board of trustees, law professor, and rector of the board for the University of Richmond. Although this building originally housed men, today it stands as one of the two all-women's dormitory on the Richmond College side of campus.
Moore Hall was designed by Carneal and Johnston and constructed by Thorington Construction Company. Carneal and Johnston is an architecture firm that produced well over one thousand buildings and was typically employed by the government, businesses, churches and developers. As far as universities go, the University of Richmond is the only school that Carneal and Johnston created designs for (and they have designed many building on campus, including the majority of the dorms). Moore Hall was included in a central building plan that included a many of the dorms on the Richmond College side of campus. This included buildings such as Marsh, Moore, Wood, and Freeman Hall. This dormitory has a structure similar to one that is used in building a home, except the major support structures are made of steel instead of wood. Moore Hall, similar to all other dorm buildings designed by Carneal and Johnston, was designed using the collegiate gothic style and was constructed using red brick with limestone trim. This dorm was built during a time when large amounts of housing were urgently needed so construction was meant to be fast and efficient. Due to this pressing need for housing, Moore was the last building constructed during this time that used the time and money to include certain aesthic details. This included features such as the offset limestone bricks that border the entrances to the building or similar details that surround the windows on the building. Moore Hall has not seen any major renovations during its lifetime except for one that was done near the turn of the century when the heating and air conditioning ventilation systems were installed.
Moore is a hall-style residential building, meaning it was a few communal bathrooms on each floor that are shared amongst the occupants. The vast majority of the rooms in Moore are doubles, but there are a few singles and triples scattered throughout the building. The building was designed so that three wings exist on each floor (A, B, and C) except for the fourth floor. Each wing on each floor has its own bathroom. Moore Hall has four floors, with the fourth floor occupying space that would otherwise be attic or wasted space. The first three floors include all three wings, but the fourth floor only has an A wing. The interesting thing about the fourth floor is that it is constructed so that normal, rectangular shaped rooms are carved out of the downward-sloping roof of the building. Extra size is added to these rooms by adding in dormers, which are extensions of the room that stretch out through the roof with a window at the end, creating a small corridor with a window sill at the end of each room. Each room comes with a desk, a closet, and a dresser for each student. After this buildings only renovation, each room came equipped with independent heating and air conditioning units as well.
As mentioned previously, Moore Hall was built during a time when large numbers of students were starting to come to the University of Richmond. As a matter of fact, ground was broken on another mens dorm that can house 225 people after the dedication of Moore Hall. Also, throughout the same time period, Dr. Modlin wrote in his president reports that there was also an acute need for Richmond College classroom and office space, recreational space for men, and dormitories for women. In addition, the funding for the Robin's Center, which included housing space for visiting teams, was received in 1969. The 1968-1969 University of Richmond Directory indicates that the large number of students coming to the school at the time were coming from different states across the country. More specifically, the distribution of students coming to the university from the east coast was strikingly similar to what it is today: Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Washington D.C., etc. There were also a few students coming from abroad, the most dominating international presence coming from Canada. The directories also showed that most of the student population during this time was comprised of men.
Marsh Hall, a dormitory designed by Carneal & Johnston, is unique among other buildings on campus. In 1968, the Department of Housing and Urban Development approved a one-million-dollar construction loan for a University of Richmond dorm. This loan proved to be thematic throughout the construction process. Compared to the neighboring dormitories, Marsh lacks many features that help enhance a student’s overall experience. For example, Freeman Hall, which is adjacent to Marsh, has a spire, chimney, fire place, and suite-style rooms. Marsh does not have any of those characteristics which hurts its overall appeal to society. Since Marsh was federally funded, it was designed in the most cost-effective way as possible. It has a hall bathroom, instead of bathrooms that are shared between two rooms. In addition, the envelope of the building is brick and stucco. The Tuder style takes up about 40% of the buildings exterior because it is cheaper than brick. In 1970, Lakeside Hall was completed and opened up to students. In 1973, Lakeside was renamed to honor Robert T. Marsh and was called Marsh Hall.
In the early 1940's, there was a huge shortage of housing for Westhampton College students, as the school was growing larger every year. Although a womens dorm housing 119 women was opened in 1948, more space was still desperately needed. In early April, 1972, the Board of Trustees voted to build a new $2.25 million freshmen women's dormitory overlooking the lake, and the plans were approved in April of 1973. In 1974, Gray Court became the third all-female dormitory on the Westhampton College side of campus, located in between Heilman Dining Hall and North Court Dormitory. Construction was completed by W. M. Walder Jr., Inc. in August 1974, then opened on October 18, 1974. The architect for this collegiate gothic style dorm was the firm Carneal & Johnton, a firm that designed most of the University's buildings at that time.The building cost approximately $2.2 million to build, and housed 278 women in suite-style accomodations. It was funded by Senator Garland Gray, Richmond College '21 and trustee, in honor of his late wife Agnes Taylor Gray, Westhampton College '23, whom he met while attending the University. In his invitation to students, faculty, and staff for the Gray Court dedication, President E. Bruce Heilman honored the Gray family saying, "few families in this century have been as closely affilaited with the University of Richmond as have Senator Garland Gray and his family."
The dedication took place on the afternoon of October 18, 1974, and was held on the Westhampton Green in front of Gray Court with 250 people in attendance. During the dedication, many alumnae, students, and faculty spoke and gave tributes in honor of the Gray family, Rev. H. Hugo Blankingship prayed, and the University Choir performed. Additionally, the governor of Virginia, Mills E. Godwin Jr, gave the dedication address, speaking in memory of Agnes Taylor Gray, as well as highlighting his support for an upcoming ammendment that would help private institutions receive state funding, a relevant issue at the dedication because there were inital funding problems with Gray Court. The future residents acted as hostesses for the dedication, gave tours of the building, and socialized with alumni of the school.
Being an all women's dorm means that Gray Court had many differences from other dorms on campus at the time. While most other buildings had to be renovated and adjusted to have air conditioning later on after they were built, Gray never did because it was one of the first buildings on campus that was originally built with air conditioning. The building is shaped like a 'W' and is separated into the East and West Wing. West Wing on the North Court side, and East Wing on the Heilman Dining Hall side. Gray Court is constructed in the traditional Unviersity of Richmond collegiate gothic style, using brick with limestone accents so that the building is cohesive with the rest of campus. However, because money was tight, it was constructed using many cheaper methods and simpler desings than other dormitories on the Westhampton side. The limestone detailing around the windows and doors are much less elaborate, and instead of having rooms on the third floor with the roof as the ceiling, Gray has three flat floors and a completely separate attic space because the roof is attached on the ceiling of the third floor (see building plans below). Because of this, the dormers on the roof are fake because there were no student rooms that needed windows o extra space. Because Gray Court was made more cheaply, it has a beam that runs horizontally through the center of each floor that supports the weight of the dorm. Compared to other dorms, Gray is more standardized because it was built like a commercial building, while other dorms were often constructed like houses.
In June of 1975, work began to renovate the East Wing of the basement to create more student rooms, although previously the space was somewhat unexcavated and somewhat used for storage because although the dorm had just been built the previous year, more space was already needed due to influx of students. Throughout the years, many rooms experienced a change in purpose. For example, when there was no need for dating rooms or linen rooms, those were turned into bedrooms. In 1990, the lounges on each floor were converted into student rooms because of a temporary housing crisis at the University because of overenrollment of the freshmen class, and although the students complained of lack of space and too few outlets, they ultimately decided that the advantages to living in a lounge outweighed the disadvantages. In 2001, the school decided to make Gray Court an all male dorm, while Marsh Hall and Robins Hall became all female. Gray was chosen because it is the largest dorm on the Westhampton side, and its location at the center of Westhampton made it the perfect geographical location to increase mixed-gender interaction and dimish the 'lake effect' that causes separation of the sexes. Even though men already believed that Gray Court was the "most male-style dorm" of Westhampton, many changes were made to the dorms before the men moved in, including removing mirrors from the rooms and adding a pool table in the basement, but many residents were upset with the lack of urinals. In 2003, extensive renovations were done because of the thin walls, ceiling tiles destroyed by residents, and disguting and damaged bathrooms that took staff an extra 700 hours to clean. Because of this, Gray would only house freshmen males in 2003, since 60% of the damage was done by sophomores. In 2007, it was decided that Gray Court would only house upperclassmen males, to provide more attractive on-campus living space for upperclassmen. In 2009, Gray Court became co-educational to allow housing to accomodate for fluctiations in the number of students of each gender.