Hunter Johnson, Commentary Editor
As one side of campus prepares to rise to new heights, another continues its increasingly rapid sag into oblivion. Of course, I’m referring to the announcement of a new College of Business building and the descent of our beloved Carpenter Hall.
First and foremost, the announcement of the unprecedented $12 million donation by University of Dallas alumni Satish and Yasmin Gupta is most welcomed news to our bubble. Given the minuscule size of our college community, such a gift goes a long way to improving UD’s image in the local community, Texas as a whole and the rest of the country.
You know what else might improve our image, though? Of course you do. You see this potential image-improver every day you stroll about campus. Its grinning face – yes, grinning, because of its drooping middle – is staring at you as you nervously enter into it.
It’s a creeper! It’s the Joker! No – it’s Carpenter Hall!
We all know its problems. It’s a hideous structure on the outside and no prettier on the inside. Essentially, Carpenter appears to be on the verge of collapse. Exactly how it hasn’t been condemned escapes me.
What we all would like to know, however, is just why we are stuck with this building. There seem to be no plans on the table to do something about it. Who knows how many times this topic has found its way into the stories featured in this very paper. Yet, the most progress that seems to have been made is the way in which Carpenter has become something of a favored talking point among UDers. “Oh you know [insert problematic situation here] will be fixed,” they say, “as soon as they fix Carpenter. Ha ha.”
While I’m sure the administration is quietly concerned about the hall, outwardly it refrains from speaking negatively of this hideous structure that no doubt contributed to UD being named one of America’s ugliest campuses. For a news article published earlier this semester, vice president for enrollment and student affairs John Plotts was asked specifically about Carpenter Hall and why there were no plans for renovation included in recent beautification projects. He responded, “Our hope is that [Carpenter] will last three to five more years.”
Three to five more years, they hope. I pray that Irving doesn’t receive another earthquake registering a whopping 3.4 on the Richter scale (yes, that is a relatively small one).
Plotts did say in that same article that “any funding for new buildings is done through donations to the university.” That is where we have our problem, I believe. There just simply isn’t enough money in UD’s coffers to throw at the monstrosity.
I think, though, that there are ways to fix it. Currently, there are efforts to raise money to beautify the entrances to campus. Perhaps the school would be willing to start a “Let’s build a new Carpenter” campaign? Numerous alumni stretching back who-knows-how-many years remember the rickety hall. Starting a fundraising campaign for the purpose of updating/replacing Carpenter would surely grab attention, if not coax many to reach for their wallets.
To set the fundraising goal at a more attainable level, there is an even easier way to have the building demolished: We could just line the rugby team up to push along one of the walls. That could perk up donors’ ears!
Again, the fate of Carpenter is far from breaking news. The fact, though, that there is no visible effort to do anything about it is annoying and concerning. Because it is a peeve to so many, vocalized or not, why not try to campaign off of it?