Academy Street steps to the new Caesar Rodney Hall as it neared completion, June 2015Okay, so this is Lane, Thompson, Smyth, the new Caesar Rodney, and another currently under construction complex, which I speculate will be named new John Dickinson.
Wait…what? Some explaining: for years, UD was looking to concentrate freshmen housing in the same general area, and also eliminate West Campus altogether. This necessitated a transitional plan to build new dorms and renovate some others, to get to the point where the (original) Rodney and Dickinson complexes could be shut. Which finally happened in May 2015.
And with the closing of the (again, original) Rodney and Dickinson, the pieces (pun?) are finally falling into place to complete the transitional plan by 2017. Read on…
The new Caesar Rodney Hall opened in September 2015, right across from Perkins on Academy Street, with a brand new mega dining hall right underneath it. During construction, its working name was actually the “Academy Street Dining and Residence Hall,” before the Rodney name was ported over to it. Where is it? It’s right where those tennis and other courts used to be, adjacent to the back of Kent, New Castle and Cannon.
The new South Academy Street complex is under construction now, scheduled to open September 2017. Okay, where’s this one? It’s being dropped on what had been that nice big grassy field on the other side of Kent. Yeah, that field framed by the backs of Sussex, Squire, and also Hartshorn Hall. Personally, I think it’s a shame that this area is being built on, but understand it’s a logical location that lends itself to another complex. Anyway, think it’s a pretty safe bet that “South Academy Street” is just the working name for this complex, and it’ll end up being named “Dickinson.”
And thusly, Academy Street. With these new dorm complexes, looks like UD is grouping some of the other dorms in with them under the general geographic name of “Academy Street,” which pretty much makes sense. Smyth (formerly considered South Central) faces Academy, and I guess Lane and Thompson are thought to be close enough (both formerly considered East Campus).
Along with all the dorms on East Campus, the Academy Street dorms are planned to house all UD freshmen, starting in 2017. Okay, here’s a couple of other tidbits…
George Thorogood & The Delaware Destroyers. Their first show EVER was in Lane Hall, on December 1, 1973. They then did a 10th anniversary gig there on December 1, 1983! Destroyers’ bassist Bill Blough wasn’t yet playing with the band for the first show in '73, but he was indeed there, “I actually wandered in to the first Destroyers gig in Lane. Looking for beer and chicks. I hung out for a few beers, and headed off to a party with some friends. I don't remember much about the band, except they weren't playing the usual covers of the day, and they rocked.”
Thompson Hall. Was believe it or not, all female up until the early '90s...well, believe it!
“Basement of Lane Hall laundry machines had the old school quarter push slots. So, we naturally experimented with the urban legend that one could place used fabric softener dryer sheets jammed into the slots, to run the machine. Well, it worked and we had free laundry from '91 - '92. Is there a statute of limitations?”
(Digger’s Note: I asked for an explanation of the dryer sheet thing, because I’d never seen it done. See below!)
“When you have brand new fabric softener dryer sheets, they are saturated with the softener product. After you use them, the softener is gone, leaving you with the spent spider-web like sheets. Most normal people take them out of the dryer and throw them away. The used sheets are now in fact perfect for folding up and jamming into the slots where the quarters go, in the old school push-slide dryers; the kind where you would put five quarters in a row next to each other and slide them in all at once like on a tray.
We would use portions of the spent dryer sheets to jam into the slots where the quarters were supposed to go in. Normally, the quarters would act like a key when you slid the tray in, and would drop inside and be collected and the washer / dryer would turn on. The used dryer sheets would trick the machine into thinking there were quarters in it and let you do laundry for free. The tray would then slide back out and you would quickly remove the sheets and throw them out. You would use roughly one third of a sheet in all -- just tear some of the sheet off and fold it up a few times, and use a quarter to push it into the slots, until the slots were filled with what it thought were quarters. Then to take the sheets out, you would need a pen or knife to dig in the slot. We learned how to leave some of the sheet poking up so you could grab it and pull it out right away.”
- Brian FF, UD '94
“My freshman year in Lane Hall, I woke up to see my roommate and her boyfriend having sex in the bed next to me. I still remember my thought process: ‘What do I do? Do I just pretend I'm sleeping? Do I roll over loudly? Do I get up and pour a bowl of cereal or check my email?’ The best part is when I called her on it the next day, she denied it and told me I must have been dreaming.”
- Jennifer, UD '02
“I lived on the third floor of Lane Hall during my freshman year 2000 - 2001. There is a trade-off when you live in Lane -- the rooms are SMALL -- but in return, you get a BEAUTIFUL view of the Beach, and a short walk to the Perkins Student Center, the Mall and Main Street. I really liked living on that part of campus, and I stayed in the same general area for the next two years.”
- Aliza I, UD '04
“I wish my roommate and I had a ‘warning system.’ Her boyfriend came down for a few days. I was doing laundry one morning, and after putting my clothes in the washer I trekked up to my room on the lovely fourth floor of Thompson, to get my laptop so I’d have something to do. Low and behold, I walked in on them having sex. They didn’t even notice! I just got my computer and left.”
- Anonymous, UD '10
“Oh boy, do I have the story about furniture. It was Valentine’s Day, and one of our friends had big plans when he got back from dinner with his little lady friend. He had to do stuff all day, so he was not around. We lived in the second floor of Thompson. On the side of the building there was a roof over the one-story lounge, so you could actually go out onto the roof from one person’s room and break into another person’s room if they left their window unlocked.
Somehow we came up with the idea that we could break into his room, and set up his room on the lounge's roof. Yes, we climbed out another room’s window and of course his window was unlocked. We proceeded to put every piece of furniture that would fit out the window, in a neat matter resembling a room setup on the roof. The entire bunk bed wouldn't fit, but the mattress sure did. So, once everything was outside, we decided to toilet paper his room with one of those huge toilet paper rolls in the dorms. I must say he was not a happy camper when he came home that night, after Valentine's Day dinner.”
- Anonymous, UD '02
“I loved living in Smyth! Smyth was AMAZING -- big rooms, lots of closet space, bright hallways. In fact, my roommate and I loved our dorm room so much that we opened it up to tours when we lived on the first floor. So, if anyone stopped by 136 Smyth Hall during the 2002 - 2003 school year, you probably saw our room! It totally looked like Martha Stewart had decorated it…we had matching comforters (accidentally, I swear) and a wallpaper border running across the room.”
- Aliza I, UD '04
Academy Street entrance to Smyth Hall, September 2006
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