Truman State University’s decision to close Dobson Hall was early enough that the closing went relatively smooth. Dave Rector, vice president for administration, finance and planning, said the only hurdle was how to keep the convenience store open in the hall, however, adding a new wall and securing the building didn’t cost much.
Dobson Hall has been closed since the end of the 2019 spring semester. The hall was closed temporarily to save money and to adapt to a smaller freshmen class.
Rector said Truman is saving about $250,000 a year by closing the hall.
Those savings are attributed to the reduced staffing, operating costs and the diminished hall budget.
Rector said the rationale for closing Dobson was because it was one of the smaller halls and it doesn’t have the amenities, like a dining hall or a big lounge, as halls like Ryle Hall or Centennial Hall have.
“The plan is to keep the temperature not like you would normally have it with people in there for the whole building,” Rector said. “But to keep it warm enough in the winter, obviously, so pipes don’t freeze. And have it ready to reuse when we want to.”
There is a separate mechanical room in Dobson where the physical plant workers can come in and check the building systems and ensure they are running as they should be, Rector said.
He also said that Dobson has an electronic system that monitors the temperature so if it drops substantially someone will be alerted.
“The custodial staff in there were able to move,” Rector said. “As we had retirements and resignations move to other places so no one lost their jobs.”
Rector said the University will be keeping an eye on enrollment trends and applications for the fall to decide if it makes sense to reopen the hall.
Around mid to late January the University should know if the hall will reopen.
“There is the possibility we might open it again next year,” Rector said. “We just haven’t really decided yet. It’s gonna depend on demand or some ideas might come up to make it more attractive to students to stay on campus.”