Burrstone House used to be a selling point.
It once was a hotel at the corner of Burrstone Road and Champlain Avenue in Utica, but for years was a dorm at Utica College across the street.
For students who didn’t want standard dorm living in either North or South halls (South is pictured above), they could step up to Burrstone or the apartment-style living at Alumni Hall.
Because living in a former hotel room probably seemed pretty cool at the time.
However, it wasn’t for me. I never lived in either Burrstone or Alumni, and probably visited either no more than a handful of times in four years.
I lived in South all four years of college, mostly because I was comfortable there, so I saw no reason to change.
Going to Burrstone never crossed my mind — I walked to the nearby convenience story every day, so that wasn’t an issue, but I liked being in the middle of everything on campus — and Alumni was unappealing because I didn’t want to have five roommates.
So why was “Noooooo!” my response when one of my former professors posted a story on Facebook from The Tangerine, the school newspaper, about Burrstone no longer being used as a residence hall, even as I noted that I had never lived there?
One of the comments on my professor friend’s post was from the dean of student services when I was in UC — “It served its purpose. Time to say goodbye.” I’m sure he’s right, especially given all the new residence halls filling what used to be open areas.
The newest is Pioneer Village, offering juniors, seniors and graduate students “apartment-style buildings with single bedrooms, kitchen and laundry facilities in each apartment, gender-inclusive apartments, air conditioning (and) two full bathrooms per apartment.”
So, again, why the reaction, especially since I’ve been in favor of all the other changes at the college — the new programs, the sports teams, the new radio and TV facilities … the new dorms — because I realize that’s what colleges have to do to adapt to changing times?
Again, and I can’t say this enough, when I never lived in Burrstone House?
Riding the bike at my gym, it came to me.
It has been 25 years since I graduated — our Homecoming weekend is in a couple weeks — and today’s students wouldn’t recognize the college I or any of my fellow 1994 grads talk about. But most of the changes since I graduated have been adding to the campus I knew.
But Burrstone House no longer being a dorm is taking something away from that campus.
And that was why it stung.
Even if it was time.
And even if I never lived there.