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The Orion

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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Housing statements revoked amidst Whitney Hall construction

Brick+building+with+many+windows.+Green+bush+in+front+and+people+dressed+in+black+walking+toward+door+of+building
Photo of Whitney Hall enterance prior to the closure. Taken by Milca Elvira Chacon Mar. 26, 2023.

Whitney Hall will remain closed for the 2024-2025 academic year, causing students to find alternative housing options, despite Chico State promises to provide alternative housing. 

Whitney Hall is the tallest building on campus at nine stories and was dedicated in 1969. It was designed to meet student housing demand and originally housed 528 students with dining facilities. 

Whitney Hall closed in 2023 due to needed upgrades to the facilities. University Housing director Corinne Knapp said there are multiple vendor offers that Chico State is considering to replace the HVAC system. 

This will be a significant cost, and also initiates a mandatory seismic retrofit of the building, per California law,” Knapp said. 

Seismic ordinances dictate that buildings built prior to 1976 are subject to seismic retrofitting if they are wood-frame soft-story structures, non-ductile concrete structures or unreinforced masonry buildings. 

Chico State requested a seismic project from California State University Business and Finance in January 2021 with a projected cost of $50,000,000 to cover preliminary plans, working drawings, partial construction, construction and equipment. It was decided that the construction was to be addressed within 5-10 years.

As it was Feb. 10, the Whitney Hall webpage stated “The University is working on alternative housing options.” 

This has since been removed from the page, as of Feb. 13. 

Whitney Hall homepage displaying a message about the closure. Courtesy: Internet Archive, Aug. 29, 2023
Whitney Hall homepage displaying a message about the closure. Feb. 13, 2024

The university now recommends that students seek accommodation in the other residence halls and University Village

Off-Campus student services launched College Pads in 2023, which allows students to search for housing within a two-mile radius of Chico State. 

The 2024-2025 Chico State Housing Application Priority Period begins Feb. 19. Students should apply for housing and submit their intent-to-enroll to the University by April 19 to be eligible for the housing priority placement lottery. 

Former Whitney Hall resident Kaiulani Kisa lived in the dorms during the 2019-2020 school year.

Now a senior, Kisa reflects on her time there and said the bathrooms and elevators always needed assistance. 

“Whitney greatly needs facility upgrades, so that was good news for me,” Kisa said. “I did get sad that the hall was closing down because I had great memories there and it made me think of the people who wouldn’t get to experience it.”

Though she didn’t apply to on-campus housing following her time in Whitney, she said she hasn’t had a problem looking for housing.

“I don’t think there was any issue with finding housing after Whitney,” Kisa said. “In fact, I think COVID made the search much easier because everyone was still back home over summer and through the pandemic.”

Former resident Jayden Knox lived on the second floor in Whitney during the 2022-23 school year.

Knox described her time there as “bad.” Her main concerns were mold problems, sanitary issues, lack of resources and community. 

“Yes, many maintenance issues which include but are not limited to the lack of a creative and inviting atmosphere where students live, broken ceiling tiles, to no functioning or available washing machines or sinks,” Knox said. 

After hearing about Whitney’s closure, Knox was glad to hear about its facility upgrades. She said the building was in need of attention.

“The architecture made it feel like a prison and the tightness made it feel like a jail,” Knox said. “I think I am disappointed that Whitney won’t be torn down for good.”

After leaving Whitney, Knox decided she wanted to live off-campus. She said Chico State helped her with finding housing and had no issues. 

Students who apply and/or submit their intent-to-enroll after April 19 will be granted housing on a first come first serve basis. 

Jessica Miller and Milca Chacon can be reached at [email protected]. 

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About the Contributors
Jessica Miller, Food Editor
Jessica Miller is a fourth-year English literature studies major at Chico State with a minor in linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. This will be her first semester with The Orion. After graduation, she plans to pursue a single-subject teaching credential in English and begin teaching at the high school level in California. She loves to write, read and work at the Student Learning Center on campus as a Writing Center tutor as well as her ESL Support Services tutoring position.
Milca Elvira Chacon is a journalism major with a minor in Broadcasting. She was a contributor for The Orion last semester, but is now officially working for the student-led newspaper. She hopes to strengthen her writing skills and contribute to stories that will positively impact the community. Outside of journalism, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and working out.

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