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A New Year, A New…Murphy?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JCU chapter.

Sometimes, when you see an old friend after a long time apart, they look exactly the same, but something about them has changed on the inside. At times, that change may be small, but other times, it can make that old friend completely unrecognizable.

As students stream back onto JCU’s campus this fall, they’ll be happy to see their old friend Murphy back in action as a legendary dorm, but for much different reasons than before. You see, the changes inside Murphy Hall have rendered it almost unrecognizable – but it’s definitely changed for the better.

Instead of being the popular, crowded “Dirty Murph” freshman dorm, the new Murphy Hall will house only juniors and seniors for the foreseeable future. As many JCU students probably know, Murphy now has an assortment of singles, doubles, and triple or quad suites. Interested in learning more? You’re in luck, because I got the opportunity to attend the alumni open house tour of the Murphy renovations on July 17, and I am here to give you the inside information on the renovation.

Everyone will still recognize Murphy from the outside as the renovation mainly stuck to the inside of the building. However, a few small things have changed. First, the architects had to create small additions on the back of the building to accommodate the new triple and quad suites, but they really are not noticeable from the outside. The other main changes to the outside of Murphy are new windows which open in the middle and screens for the windows.

The reason for keeping the outside of the building intact is really interesting – as part of the renovation process, JCU created a “northern historic district,” which includes Pacelli, Dolan, Kulas Auditorium, and Murphy. The creation of this historic district allowed for large amounts of the construction and renovation to be funded through historic preservation and renovation grants. As you walk through the new space, you can see pieces of the old Murphy, such as the brick hallways and the green tile columns.

Ground floor common area

One of the most pronounced changes made to the inside of Murphy is the new common space in both the main lobby and the common space on the ground floor. They’ve added more windows and skylights to open up the space as well as provide more light and better air circulation. The big news about this area of the renovation is that it will be open to the entire JCU community, not just the lucky residents of Murphy. The main doors to the building will be kept unlocked during certain hours so that everyone can enjoy the new space, while the residents will have to fob onto the wings of the building.

The Murphy Chapel

While the majority of Murphy has undergone massive changes, one small area stayed pretty much the same: the beloved Murphy Chapel. In fact, the Murphy Chapel is one of the pieces of the building that helped to get it historical status. Because the chapel did experience construction (a lift for wheelchairs was added on the side with two steps to increase accessibility for persons with disabilities), Bishop Lennon will hold a mass for students in the chapel in September to reopen the space.

Common space on each floor

Of course, the changes weren’t only applied to the big common areas – the actual living spaces in Murphy are incredible. For starters, each floor has study space and lounge space, as well as fantastic common space. Each floor has its own laundry facilities, as well as a wonderful gathering area outside of the laundry room that includes counter space, a sink, a water bottle filling station, a study area complete with outlets to charge electronics, and an area for small trash and recycling (not where trash from rooms will be emptied, but a community trash collection area to keep the community space clean and green). The ground floor also has a lovely kitchen that will be soundproofed to keep the noise to a minimum for the surrounding residents.

Updated community bathrooms

The triple and quad suites are lucky enough to have private bathrooms, with one shower and one toilet in the bathroom, and the sink in the common area right outside the bathroom. In addition, each resident in the suites has their own room, allowing for both privacy and community living. The private bathrooms in the suites also mean a change in gender separation – men and women can live on the same floor/right next to each other, as long as the suites themselves are single-sex.

New conference room for the JCU community

Other renovations in Murphy include a conference room on the ground floor that can be reserved by student organizations and other JCU groups for meetings and presentations, a second elevator (don’t worry, they also replaced the old one!), greater access for people with disabilities throughout the building, security cameras in the halls and common spaces, and beautiful new carpeting. 

Single room with new furniture 

The furniture is also all new, with the lounge and common space furniture having a very welcoming impression, and the furniture in the dorm rooms is very sturdy and functional. 

All in all, the lucky students that have the opportunity to live in Murphy this year have an absolutely beautiful space to call home. I was totally impressed by the amazing renovation, and I’m completely jealous! The first residents of the new Murphy Hall should expect plenty of visitors, as this will definitely become the hottest dorm on campus.

Allison Gall is a senior English major at John Carroll University. She is also a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. While not doing school work, Allison is involved in several other activities, including working with her church and taking Taekwondo. Allison also loves to read and write, sing, play violin, swim, and run. She is also interested in fashion, and she is known among her friends as the go-to person for hair and makeup help.
Brittany, a Senior at JCU, has a passion for tea, books, writing, and London. As an English major, you can usually find her curled up with a good book somewhere on-campus (usually in O'Malley). She loves everything about Her Campus, and she finds it extremely exciting and rewarding to be a Campus Correspondent!