Florence Moore Hall (FloMo) underwent several major renovations that have garnered overall positive responses from residents, despite nostalgia for the removed roof catwalks.
The main work done to the seven-house undergraduate residence included a complete makeover of the dining hall, renovated restrooms and newly painted walls. Outside the buildings, wooden tables, umbrella covers and rocking chairs have replaced the picnic benches.
Students like Austin Lewis’15, a resident assistant (RA) in Loro who also spent his freshman year in the same dorm, notice the most apparent difference in the dining hall. Sparkling, steel surfaces and a more open walking space characterize the renovated cafeteria.
“The dining hall was notoriously crowded, and they’ve really opened it up, allowing for more space,” Lewis said. “It’s just easier to move around in there, particularly on Sundays when everyone comes here for Indian food.”
Ramona Malczynski ’14, living in FloMo for her third year, also sees a marked improvement in the quality of the food itself.
“The food was already the best, but now it’s undoubtedly the best,” Malczynski said.
Among the renovations, only the removal of the catwalks-something students considered to be a trademark just as representative of FloMo as the weekly Indian food-has prompted mixed reactions.
Last year, the decision to remove the wooden walkways due to safety precautions met resistance from some students. The catwalks were ultimately taken down due to their age and failure to meet the accessibility standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Many understand the necessity of their removal, but a sense of nostalgia still lingers.
“I’m still really disappointed that the catwalks are gone,” said Johnathan Bowes’15, another returning FloMo resident and RA of Cardenal. “They were such a huge part of the FloMo culture.”
tudents spoke of the tanning, talking, stargazing, yoga and studying that occurred on the catwalks. In addition, the catwalks also served a practical purpose of connecting the dorms. Students argued that, without the walkways, they cannot move directly between dorms but instead must travel to other dorms via ground level.
Despite the physical disconnect between dorms, Malczynski described how the updated lounge areas now serve a similar social purpose that the walkways did.
“I understand the catwalks were probably a safety hazard, so I think the renovations are mostly positive,” Malczynski said. “People hang out in the lounge now because we can project movies onto the SMART Board, and there are a lot more areas to be in the lounge.”
Lewis also perceives the loss of the catwalks as an unfortunate, but necessary and somewhat innocuous, change.
“At first I was a little disappointed by the [removal of] catwalks,” Lewis said. “But although it’s slightly annoying to go down the flights of stairs and back up, it really hasn’t changed anything.”
While some have not felt dramatic downsides of the renovation, others suggest that a safer, more structurally sound set of catwalks would be an idea worth pursuing.
Contact Jenna Shapiro at jennshapiro ‘at’ stanford.edu.