Head to Head: Randolph Apartments’ demolition to leave empty space on campus

The Index Editor-in-Chief Ryan Pivoney and Managing Editor Elisabeth Shirk write about what to do with the space left after the demolition of Randolph Apartments.

The Board of Governors recently approved a resolution authorizing the demolition and removal of the Randolph Apartments. While we’re always sad to see a building demolished, we find ourselves excited about the potential of the empty space left after the apartments are gone. Here are a couple ideas of what we think could make for good use of the space.

Truman could use a dog park

Elisabeth Shirk

When the Fair Apartments were torn down a couple years ago, there was a lot of discussion about what would take their place in that plot. Truman State University was eventually able to create more parking in the area and still leave some room for green space, which always improves the aesthetics and environmental friendliness of campuses. With decreased enrollment, there is less of a need for increased parking options, and while green space is great, it is nice to make that greenspace usable. I suggest that the University consider putting a dog park in the area where Randolph Apartments currently sit. A few different factors support this idea: location, environmentalism and cost efficiency.

Randolph Apartments currently sit directly behind Dobson Hall, the recently-pet-friendly residence hall for students and their animal companions. A dog park would be a convenient place for students to take their dogs out for exercise or when nature calls. While Kirksville already has a nice, large dog park, it takes a car ride or a long walk to get there from campus. Sometimes, student schedules don’t permit such trips as frequently as many dogs need. 

When deciding what to do with the empty area, the University should take into account the environmental impact — no matter how small — of their considerations. A dog park is a lot more environmentally friendly than pouring concrete for parking spaces or sports like basketball. The University could even plant a couple trees in the park, which would be good for the environment, aesthetically pleasing and eventually provide nice shade on hot days. 

If environmental issues are not convincing enough, consider the cost efficiency of a dog park over other potential options. A simple chain link fence, a couple saplings and perhaps a station to take and dispose of doggy bags surely wouldn’t break the bank. Also, grass seed is a lot less expensive than pouring concrete. Sure, grass would require regular maintenance which would cost money, but concrete ground also requires costly maintenance as it ages and in the winter to prevent ice-related injuries. The relatively small amount of money a dog park might cost would also be much more justifiable in its usefulness than concrete or just a patch of grass.

There is so much potential in what will be an empty space after Randolph Apartments are gone and a dog park would be a fun and practical way to use it.

The Board of Governors approved the demolition of Randolph Apartments earlier this month. The space will be used for student recreation. Photo by Ryan Pivoney

Truman needs more parking

Ryan Pivoney

At last, Truman State University has decided to tear down Randolph Apartments. While I can’t say I saw this coming so quickly, I do think it provides a new opportunity for the University to invest in changing the campus. If you’re a student with a car on campus, we likely have the same idea for what Truman should do with the space that will be left when those old apartments are torn down: more parking spaces.

The location of this proposed additional parking lot couldn’t be better. Dobson Hall has the fewest amount of parking spaces behind any other residence hall. To provide these residents more space to park, let’s expand the existing parking lot to the area where Randolph Apartments currently sits.

This would also clean up the look of South Davis Street. Right now, you have a perfect row consisting of the Ophelia Parrish Building, Missouri Hall and Blanton-Nason-Brewer Hall with sizable and uniform parking lots behind each of them. Then, you run into Dobson Hall, which is still perfectly in line with the other buildings but has a diminished parking lot with an apartment building standing in the way of the uniform aesthetics of the rest of the street. By removing those apartments, the area would look less cluttered and provide students a space they can use.

Available parking has been a regular issue at Truman, especially when a few hundred more students are on campus. While there might be some available spaces near academic and residential buildings this year, that’s not always the case. Just last year, The Index reported that students were frustrated with finding campus parking with 86.4% of survey respondents believing parking is a priority Truman administration should address.

The University is looking to increase enrollment in the future, which means this issue of parking will indeed return — if it ever really went away. Students will again be facing long drives around campus trying to find that last spot to squeeze into. They will again be ticketed in abundance for parking in the wrong lots because all of the green-pass lots are full. Let’s avoid this. Let’s make another parking lot.