Concerned Theater Students React to Cascade Living Conditions

Cascade Hall, the abandoned dormitories of Southern Oregon University, is where you can find theater students holding their regular classes. For the past year the theater and athletic department have been relocated to the empty dorm building of Cascade while the gym and theater building are under construction. Previously Cascade has been used to house science students while the new science building was going through construction. However, since the completion of the facility, Cascade Hall has turned into flex space for SOU to place students who do not currently have facilities.

Cascade, having been scheduled for condemnation, is a less than ideal location to be holding classes according to theater students. Recently, some students voiced their complaints of the building via Facebook. Leaky ceilings, non-potable water, mold, and drastic temperature changes are just some of the complaints which have been brought to light during discussions about the building.  

“Someone accidentally put their shoulder through a hole in the wall and exposed the beams. That was last term and it hasn’t been fixed,” said theater major Katie Herling. Students are working in conditions which are far from conducive to their learning environments. Lighting students struggle with their lack of resources and inability to be working in a functioning theater and drafting students have had work ruined from water damage due to ceiling leaks. Faculty has since responded to the complaints of students and held a meeting to discuss the concerns of students. Since the meeting faculty has responded by fixing any leaks the building currently holds, and continuing the building construction.

By next fall students will have been waiting a year and a half for their new theater due to budgeting issues.

“We were hoping to start last fall, but unfortunately the project was well over budget,” said Drew Gilliland SOU’s Director of Facilities Management Planning and Sustainability. “We terminated our contractor, we hired a new local contractor, they re-billed the project and then they came back with a price that falls within our budget which was a little over 10 million dollars.”

Before rehiring contractors the budget was well over 12-13 million dollars. Due to this delay there are a number of students who will never get the chance to see the final stages of the new building, despite being charged a building fee to their tuition.

On Monday, Feb. 27 fences went up around the old theater building as construction began.


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