Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Students saddened but welcome change with residence hall demolition

Joshua Rush
Quiet courtyard located in the middle of the Whitis Court residence hall complex on March 25, 2024.

On the northern edge of campus sits Whitis Court, a quiet residence hall made up of six two-story buildings, all connected by a courtyard. Last month, The University of Texas System Board of Regents authorized the development of a 1,000-bed student housing complex to replace the dorm.

The $145 million project will house 800 more students than Whitis Court, which is set to be demolished in June, said Meredith Pruitt, associate vice president of communications and engagement. The new residence hall will open in fall 2027, making it the first UT residence hall to open in almost two decades. 

Pruitt said the project is part of President Jay Hartzell’s plan to increase student engagement, and that living on campus pushes students to become more involved with the University, stay active in organizations and succeed in classes. Pruitt also said the building aims to increase the number of students in North Campus and connect the area to other parts of the University. 

“We are trying to create an environment where students can experience on-campus as much as possible, and that would include living there,” Pruitt said. 

Sustainability sophomore Isabel Holland lived in Whitis Court both her freshman and sophomore years. Holland said she would not have come back to the dorms if she lived in a bigger residence hall her first year.

“With the transition (of) going into college and being a freshman, (Whitis Court) was such a big part of making friends and feeling comfortable on campus,” Holland said. “It made that transition so much better because we live with all of our friends, so there is always someone to go get dinner with, study with, or make you laugh. (Whitis Court) really means home.”

During her freshman year, Holland joined the Sustainability Living Learning Community. Living Learning Communities allow students with similar interests to live in the same building. Whitis Court also hosted the Global Living Learning Community, where international and U.S. students room together.

“A small tight knit community is so much better of a model to have for student housing than a giant high-rise,” Holland said. “As college students, we need those communities because … we’re lonely sometimes.” 

Parker Knudson, a physics and mathematics freshman, said he planned to continue living in Whitis Court next year because it is one of the cheapest dorms on campus at $13,111 per year. Instead, he will live in a neighboring hall that costs $3,000 more. 

“It’s easy for people to tie their memories and their feelings to a place … rather than themselves,” Knudson said. “It’s not good that they’re gonna tear it down, but it’s not bad. It just is.”Pruitt said the University has not established a price for the new hall. 

“(Hartzell) is trying to create an opportunity for students to be (on campus), to experience it, and want to stay here,” Pruitt said. “If one more building can help to do that and to bring that community tighter and closer, then that would be the goal.”

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