Kirk Hall is one of two upperclassmen dormitories at Macalester College and is the second oldest dormitory on campus. It was originally constructed as the men’s dorm in 1926 and named for E.B. Kirk, a longtime Macalester trustee. Electus Litchfield, who designed buildings like the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Denver, Colorado and the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, associated with William Ingemann to design Kirk Hall.
The dorm has a vaguely European feel to it because it has a courtyard, in which music and drunken shouting from parties in the building can easily bounce off of walls and make for loud and late Friday and Saturday nights, and because it is divided by section rather than by floor. There are nine sections that house approximately seventeen students each and are made of 2-3 floors. The thing about Kirk that makes it popular with students is that each resident (except the four that live in two rooms in section 8) of the hall, whether she or he lives in a single, double or triple, has his or her own bedroom. The individual bedrooms in the doubles and triples open to a larger common room that includes a couch, a large bookshelf, and one chair per resident, all provided by ResLife. This arrangement makes the chances of being sexiled exactly zero since one’s roommate can happily copulate in private. The small number of students in each section and the fact that there are built-in lounges into nearly every room make for very little interaction between Kirk residents, but let’s face it, most upperclassmen aren’t going to be that interested in hanging out with their next door neighbors without a reason.
Kirk Hall is also popular because it is in the prime location for a residence hall, being only a few steps away from the campus center/cafeteria, the library, and most academic buildings. Kirk residents, and a small handful of students in the language houses and cottages, are the only on-campus Macalester students who do not have to cross the notorious Grand Avenue to eat, go to class, check out a book, practice in the fine arts building or in the fieldhouse, etc. This makes doing these activities easier since the psychological distance between your bed and the rest of campus is much less and you do not have a potential run-in with a car or bus since approximately 99% of students who cross Grand Avenue jaywalk.
Seven of the nine Kirk sections are co-ed. Section 8 is home to the Hebrew House which includes a kosher kitchen that is locked to the rest of the Kirk residents and hosts the bi-weekly Open Shabbat. The formal lounge and laundry facilities for the dorm are adjacent to the Hebrew House kitchen. The basement of section 2 has a twenty-four hour computer lab, a few student organization offices, another lounge and the only accessible kitchen.