Woodward, technically Woodward Court, is a University of Chicago dormitory. The dorm was designed by Eero Saarinen about 40 years ago. Student word-of-mouth has it that the University wouldn't give Saarinen the last $50,000 he needed, so he quit and left the Unversity to finish the dorm; this explains why the dorm is a rather ugly building, both inside and out. Supposedly, the original plans were on display prior to the 1999-2000 school year and described a building which would have been much nicer than the final product.
Woodward Court is a primarily first-year dorm, with a new student/returning student ratio of 75/25. It is split up into four houses, Flint, Wallace, Rickert, and Harper. Prior to the 1999-2000 school year, there were six houses, Upper Flint, Lower Flint, Upper Rickert, Lower Rickert, Upper Wallace, and Lower Wallace. The Office of Student Housing decided to experiment with larger houses, and collapsed the six houses into four, creating Harper House out of the chaos. Most rooms in Woodward are doubles, with some singles (mostly the size of the doubles, but some small coffin singles surrounding the corner doubles) and a few much larger corner doubles.
Features of Woodward:
- Scary basement: Woodward has a spooky basement which runs under the building and connects it with the lobby ("common unit" or CU). Students used to live down there. That must have been depressing and isolating. The basement also has two laundry rooms, what's now a "study skills" area, a dance/sport room (used by the Tae Kwon Do club on Fridays), and a small weight room.
- Cockroaches, including the late Spanky, who lived in Flint and played one of the water fountains on the second floor.
- Dining hall above the CU, serving unpleasant food. It's a peculiarity either of Woodward or the University of Chicago campus that the mythical freshman 15 (or freshman fifteen) is a fifteen pound loss, not gain. The Woodward dining hall used to have two kitchens and serving lines, but one was converted into the resident masters' apartment.
- Two assistant resident heads (a position somewhat similar to that of Resident Assistant at other universities) but per house, which is unusual in the U of C housing system. Still only one Resident Head per house, though.
- That hideous sculpture in front. I'll add an update when I find out what it's called and who made it.
- Imminent death! Woodward is scheduled to be torn down soon to make way for the new Graduate School of Business building. The loss of student housing will be absorbed by the new Max Palevsky Residential Commons, which are currently under construction near the Regenstein Library. The dining hall will be replaced by the new dining hall in the Bartlett Gymnasium. As of now, the Housing Office hasn't committed itself to give the Woodward students housing preference in the new dorm, but we think they will. Otherwise, we have no place to go...
Woodward may not have seemed like too great a place to live from that description, but it actually is. I've lived there for a year and a half now, and I'll be sad to see it go (although I'm excited to have the chance to live in a brand new dorm, if I don't become an RA). It's very close to campus, has its own dining hall, and has large and active student communities. There is a real chance that the new dorms won't be ready for the next school year, so Woodward may very well be around for my third year.