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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

The perception versus the reality of Marsh Hall

Photo+by+Addie+Porter%0AThe+front+view+of+Marsh+Hall.+Students+and+faculty+have+a+dual+perception+of+the+residence+hall.
Photo by Addie Porter The front view of Marsh Hall. Students and faculty have a dual perception of the residence hall.

Built in 1969, Charles F. Marsh Hall, known simply as Marsh, has long been subject to rumors amongst students about the conditions of the dormitory. The four-story building is home to the majority of first-years who live on campus, but to call its reputation lackluster would be a kindness.

Some of the rumors spread about Marsh’s conditions include that the wiring is copper, which poses shock and fire hazard issues or that the water pipes are made of lead, which can cause health issues with the brain and kidney, but perhaps the most popular rumor is that living in Marsh will cause you to become sick.

This has been such a widespread phenomenon that the repeated instances of illness were given a name: the “Marsh Plague.” The Marsh Plague typically is reported as cold symptoms and has long been blamed on inadequate air and vent systems in the dorm.

Despite Wofford consistently testing the air quality of all its residence halls and has continued using the high-quality filters introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the complaints still persist about first-years contracting the Marsh Plague. This is perhaps induced by the long history of Marsh being seen as the “worst dorm on campus”.

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However, the College has recently taken steps to improve the quality of Marsh Hall for its residents.

Renovations began in the summer of 2021, when a new HVAC system was put into the building. Also during this time, new flooring was put into the whole building, including hardwood floors in the dorm rooms and carpeting in the hallways. The building also received new ceilings and paint, as well as having the laundry room redone.

Though these steps did a lot to change Marsh’s look, the renovations were not yet complete.

In a second phase of renovations during the summer of 2022, the bathrooms of Marsh were completely remodeled. Instead of having two bathrooms per hall, one bathroom in each hall was removed to make space for new common areas and study rooms in each hall.

The common areas feature a couch, chairs and coffee table with a TV, while the study room serves as a quiet place for students to work at the large table. Also put in the old bathroom space was a handicap accessible bathroom for each hall.

To finish up the additions to the building, a few things were done in fall 2022, such as an ice machine located on the first floor and the new doors, which gives the building a more unified look.

Even with all these upgrades, the rumors about Marsh Hall’s condition still persist, perhaps because each year a new batch of first-years come in complaining about contracting the “Marsh Plague.” This is likely because the building contains new students from across the country and world.

“It’s common at many colleges for resident halls housing first-year students to experience higher rates of illness while the students are adjusting to life on campus,” said Zack Ayer, the residence life coordinator for the east area, including Marsh Hall. “It sometimes takes a semester or two for students to begin to acclimate to the amount of rest they need, nutrition and hydration needs and how to share housing without spreading germs.”

With these renovations being so recent, it’s possible that as students who remember the previous Marsh graduate and new students come in, the reputation of Marsh Hall will continue to improve. As with all of Wofford’s resident halls, the college will continue to make improvements to meet the needs of its students.

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