Ferncliff and Firestine get a Facelift

The lounges in Ferncliff got new furniture and a fresh paint job. Photo by Meghan Nadzam ‘22.

If you live in Ferncliff or Firestine, you may have noticed that your building is looking better than it did last year. That is because both dorms have had some major facelifts. With the recent renovations that occurred over summer, students are getting excited about their dorm halls all over again.  

In the beginning, Ferncliff was an A-Frame house built in 1888 and was first an all-female dorm. The building held art classes and housed some professors as well. There were expansions in 1914 and 1922 as Wittenberg enrolled more women. It was also renovated in the 1990s. During the early 1900s the building also housed the Wittenberg Academy for students 16 to 18-years-old. In the 1940s during WWII, soldiers additionally resided there. The dorm became co-ed officially in 1970.

Firestine was built with a donation from a wealthy family from Findlay: Mr. and Mrs. R.C. Firestine. They donated $250,000, and $350,000 was the final cost of the construction. The hall was originally an all-male dorm with 109 beds.

The dorms have their own unique histories as you can see, complete with their own traditions. Ferncliff used to have a celebration called “Moose Day,” although how it started, when, and what exactly it was is unknown. We do know that students would have picnics on this day, though.

Both Ferncliff and Firestine have desperately needed some renovations in the recent years, as the buildings are very old. The Residential Housing Association has received complaints about the bathrooms especially.

The renovations include: new flooring in the halls and lounges, new paint on all the walls, new light fixtures and new furniture in the rooms and lounges. The rooms received new desks, beds and chairs. The lounges got new couches and comfy chairs. The bathrooms received new floors, mirrors, partitions, sinks and showers. The bathrooms in Ferncliff haven’t all been completed just yet but are going to be very soon. Some still need towel hooks installed, for example.  

The renovations were completed by the Physical Plant and an outside contractor. The construction began in May right as the students moved out, and they were finished right before the students moved back in.

“It was a major project,” Emma Carnicom, the housing manager of the residence halls, said.

“My hope for renovations happening is that it makes students happy about where they live. There tends to be an attitude about their community, and everyone has different expectations. We want students to be comfortable where they live, hang out, and be able to make friends,” Carnicom said.

She also explained how the goal of the renovations was to make students excited about their living space.

“The renovations are great, and Ferncliff is very nice,” Sadie Kurtzman (’22) said. “I’m hoping they will add air conditioning sometime soon, though. I’m looking forward to fall and winter.”

Tower Hall is next on the renovation list. The basement unfortunately flooded last year, so they had new floors put in along with new paint. They also redistributed the furniture and had a new plasma TV put up in the basement. This also was an effort to make students love their space and hang out more in the residence halls.

All dorm halls here have a different history, and that’s part of what makes them so special. The buildings are old and loved and are filled with new memories every day. New students living here and making new memories is a renovation in itself, adding to the long and wonderful history of Wittenberg. Make the most out of your time here as other students did in the past, and that includes in your dorm hall.  

1 Comment

  1. Glad to read about the facelifts! The original Firestine Hall sat on what the campus map labels “chapel lawn”; it was demolished several years ago, and old North Hall was renamed Firestine. (Maybe New Hall should be renamed “North” now, or North could be North and New could be Firestine…well, now I’m just confused.)

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