After housing the women of The University of Alabama for more than 50 years, the infamous Julia Tutwiler Hall for women, built in 1968, is officially being demolished and replaced by a new and improved Tutwiler Hall in the upcoming fall of 2022. Many women are experiencing a wide range of emotions regarding this change. A group of current freshmen Tutwiler or Tut’ residents were asked their opinion on being the last group of girls in the current building and how they felt about being one year short of experiencing the luxuries of the new hall.
Leila Horsley, a junior at UA, said she’s glad she got to live in the old Tut’ for the experience but also a little upset because she thinks the new dorm “is going to be like a five-star hotel.” It just might feel that way after being in a nearly 60-year-old building.
Another current Tutwiler Hall resident and member of greek life, Sophie Scarborough, expressed, “I really like how close I am to all of my friends and how I can just walk across the street, and I’m at sorority row!”
Orlando, the construction worker on site, filled us in on some of the latest scoop regarding the new Tutwiler.
Tutwiler Hall seems to be a common ground for girls who plan to join a sorority, as it is a convenient location in relevance to sorority row. However, female students who prefer a newer living space over a convenient location have to live on the other side of campus from their sorority houses. The new Tutwiler will now grant these sorority girls an opportunity to be close to sorority row while living in an upgraded environment – the best of both worlds. But, what exactly will this upgrade look like? A team member currently working on the new hall provided some feedback.
Construction worker Orlando said that “there are 1,265 rooms. There are going to be five floors. The first floor has 10-foot-high ceilings, and some units even have their own double window. And there’s a keypad for every student’s room.”
All of these features serve as a massive upgrade to the current building and will redefine Tutwiler Hall. The current hall consists of 13 floors, and the current rooms also have a real key to lock their doors. However, a physical key can become challenging to keep up with, so the new keypads will be a game-changer.
Tuscaloosa News also came out with an article that revealed some amenities in the new building that girls can take advantage of. The article written by Mark Cobb states, “It’ll sport lounges, study and fitness rooms, and a 16,600-square-foot multipurpose space that will double as a federal emergency management agency-rated storm shelter capable of housing all of the residents.”
With the new building providing a fitness room, what will happen to the almighty “freshman fifteen?” Not to fret – Julia’s Market will be in the new hall as well. It will have to-go sandwiches and include other groceries. There are also rumors of a Chick-Fil-A in the new Tutwiler, said Scarborough. One of the most popular new amenities that the new Tutwiler Hall will feature is the removal of communal bathrooms. These upgrades will bring the demand to live there to an all-time high.
Although the new Tutwiler Hall will be an improvement on campus, many will miss the current building and all of its memories. Scarborough, who shared these feelings, said, “I’m kind of sad about it because we won’t be able to look back and tell our kids we lived here.”
This nostalgia was a common theme, as another current freshman, Frances Jones, said, “It’s sad because my aunt and several other family members lived here, and it was fun for them to say, ‘Oh, we lived there, too!’ But now, we won’t be able to do that.”
Despite these bittersweet moments, the university found a way to let the current building of memories live forever. According to a recent newsletter sent out to all UA students, the university is selling bricks and room number plaques from the original building to “commemorate the legacy of the historical building and to raise money for future housing scholarships.” As a result, students from the past and present and family members will have the opportunity to cherish a piece of the historic Julia Tutwiler building forever, a UA legacy.
The current Julia Tutwiler Hall holds many memories that will be treasured forever.