[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]As the semester draws to a close, Residence Life has announced plans to discontinue use of one of its old haunts on the Truman State campus — Grim Hall.
Shortly after on-campus housing registration began earlier this semester, students who signed up to live in Grim Hall next year received an email informing them that the building would be closing and they would need to find living arrangements elsewhere on campus.
John Gardner, Director of Residence Life, says Grim Hall has had problems with its foundation and, during the last year alone, approximately six rooms have been emptied of students because of leaks coming through the building’s masonry and roof. He says issues with the gutters have caused very icy conditions at the residence hall’s rear entrance.
Gardner says Grim Hall can house 66 students but only about 38 spaces are available now because of all the maintenance concerns.
With room for so few students, Gardner says the University does not need the extra residence space Grim Hall offers. He says the University still is trying to determine what will happen to the building during the future. With the upcoming renovation of Baldwin Hall, Gardner says the faculty will need office space and it is possible Grim Hall will be used to fill that need. However, if the University finds the building is not needed, Gardner says it probably will be torn down. He says if circumstances permit, he would like to restore Grim Hall to a residence hall in the future.
Grim Hall has been part of Truman’s campus since it first was acquired by the University from the Grim-Smith Hospital during the summer of 1955. The building has become well-known for its tight-knit community and urban legends.
“It’s always very sad when one of our communities goes away, and for both Fair [Apartments] and Grim, we’ll miss having those communities because they certainly provided good service to our students over the years,” Gardner says. “As with anything in life, sometimes you have to move on and this is, I think, the decision we needed to make for the best interest for the University and our students.”
The decision to take Fair Apartments officially offline was announced earlier during the semester, and Gardner says the decision to close both buildings was driven by concerns for the facilities and because neither building offered the quality of living the University expected for students on campus.
Senior student advisor Sophie Krautmann is part of the Grim Hall staff and says she hopes the building will reopen. Krautmann says Grim Hall is more than just a residence hall — it is a home. She says the building’s design makes it comfortable, unlike the more sterile environments of other residence halls, and the lounges provide a cozy, inviting atmosphere for students.
Krautmann says Grim Hall’s community not only provided a space for students who might have felt overwhelmed by the larger residence halls, but also provided those students with a sense of family.
“The small community lends itself to the creation of very tight bonds of friendship,” Krautmann says. “Many of my most cherished Truman memories have come from things that happened in Grim. Many of those things, such as interactions with Charlotte [Grim Hall’s resident ghost], could not happen anywhere else on campus.”
Junior Stephanie Gruetze, a former Grim Hall resident, says she was one of the students who was forced to move because of leaks this year. Despite these issues, she says she still feels Grim Hall is a great place to live with a strong and accepting community.
After learning the University was closing down Grim Hall, Gruetze says she thought the building needs to be preserved. She says she currently is looking into the Kirksville Historic Preservation Commission, along with several other similar organizations and societies, to see if the building can be designated as a historic landmark because she thinks Grim Hall is a historical treasure.
“Not just because of the community, that’s a large part, but also because of [the history],” Gruetze says.
Gruetze says she is passionate about the building’s history, from when it was still a house for the Grim-Smith Hospital’s nursing program all the way to its more modern history as seen in the scrapbooks kept in Grim Hall’s first floor lounge area. She says she has heard about other students who wish to preserve Grim Hall, and she wants to form a group of students who plan to try and prevent the building’s possible demolition.
Gruetze says she plans to reach out to the campus community and alumni from Grim Hall.
“I’m gauging support on whether it can be something that can continue on, because if you don’t have support, you can still try to advocate for the cause, but you need a support system to back you up,” Gruetze says.[/vc_column_text][vc_gallery type=”flexslider_fade” interval=”3″ images=”4046,4028,4027,4052″ onclick=”link_image” custom_links_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][vc_column_text]Gruetze says she isn’t rallying the campaign to preserve Grim Hall because she is upset with the University. Instead, she says her goal is to work with the University and find a way to keep the building that will benefit Truman and its community.
The first informational meeting for the preservation of Grim Hall was hosted March 30 in Grim Hall’s third floor lounge. Students and others interested in following or joining this cause can visit the “Save Historic Grim Hall” Facebook page.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]