In the spring of 2023, American University announced that Leonard Hall would undergo an extensive renovation. This renovation started during the spring semester, and was said to be fully completed by the end of summer. Renovation of the bathrooms, lounges and lobby, among other things, were on the list to be completed. Another appeal of the renovation was the supposed increased security of the building as a whole.
However, when move in day came, more than half of these renovations were not completed, with some less than half finished. As a result, residents of Leonard Hall are frustrated, as well as doubtful towards the university’s efficiency. This frustration and doubt are coupled with snickering from students about the university’s ability to follow through on their promises.
Leonard Hall is one of the older residence halls on American University’s campus. It houses approximately 275 residents and has the traditional style of rooms, with single and double size room options. Considering the building size and age, the renovation was a big undertaking by the university. The renovation kicked off during Spring Break of last semester, with work beginning on March 15. Since some students stayed on campus for Spring Break, they were present for demolition and construction noise.
After the semester was over, the work began again and hasn’t stopped. Students were skeptical but hopeful about the renovation timeline that was given by the university. A big appeal of the project was that it was supposed to be completed by the time students moved in for the fall semester.
However, Leonard Hall was still under construction when students arrived to move into their dorm rooms. As students hauled their belongings into the building, workers hauled their equipment in as well. This was not a big obstacle for residents, but in the weeks that followed, the renovation noise and unknown people in their living space was getting on residents’ nerves.
Up until a couple of weeks ago, there were only a few public rooms available to students. One of the most highly anticipated rooms, the formal lounge, appears to be finished, but the doors have remained locked to everyone in the building. The formal lounge is a big part of the renovation of Leonard Hall, as it was publicized as being a fun and comfortable place for every resident to enjoy. Funky furniture, brand new construction, and a pool table were all included in American University’s renovation plan, but all of that is sitting dormant behind a swipe access door for reasons unknown.
The lobby and formal lounge are not the only finished parts of the renovation. Other major changes are the new pod style gender neutral bathrooms and the sleek upgraded floor lounges. While the pod style is different from normal bathroom layouts, it is convenient for students. Each pod has a toilet and shower with a floor to ceiling lockable door. The sinks are in the middle of the bathrooms between the semicircle of pods.
Just across the hall from the bathrooms are the lounges. Each lounge has a large flatscreen TV, high table, and new appliances. The only problem that students run into is the induction stove on each floor. The only pans that are safe to use on induction stoves are pricier than most students want to spend. Unfortunately, the Target kitchen aisle can’t be of much help. Unlike the lobby, the bathrooms and kitchens are exactly what was promised to students back when the renovation was announced.
In March when the Leonard Hall renovation started, students were excited and slightly doubtful about the supposed timeline. While their doubts were somewhat warranted, the renovations that were completed on time do offer students a more comfortable living situation than other residence halls. Students don’t know if or when the rest of the renovation will be completed, and American University hasn’t released any news on that front. For now though, students are content with their redesigned living space.