Wilgus and Melcher Hall to become co-ed

Residence life made the official announcement in an email in Oct. saying that the two halls will merge


Haley Kaiser graphic

Starting in the fall of 2017, Wilgus and Melcher Hall will be co-ed. This will be the first time all residence halls have been co-ed.

Beginning in the fall of 2017, Wilgus and Melcher Hall will become co-ed residence halls.  According to uwplatt.edu, Wilgus Hall currently houses 230 women and Melcher Hall houses 255 men each year.  Both buildings recently celebrated their 50-year anniversary of being built and have undergone renovations to improve living spaces within the last couple of years.

We consistently discuss space utilization and the best ways to house students.  We have been considering the occupancy of Melcher and Wilgus for several years,” director of residence life Linda Mulroy-Bowden said in an email interview. “Our statistics show that Melcher and Wilgus are the least requested residence halls by new students (by a significant amount) and also that they maintain the lowest retention of students from their first year to their second year.”  Reasons behind that are usually because of the one-gender environment that the hall holds.  However, for senior English education major Ellen Luthanen, she switched halls to be closer to her boyfriend at the time, even though she preferred the all women environment of Wilgus Hall. Luthanen believed that if Wilgus Hall were co-ed during the time that she lived there, she would have been more inclined to stay.

Wilgus, named after James A. Wilgus, and Melcher Hall, named after Milton L. Melcher, were the only two residence halls on the University of Wisconsin-Platteville campus to be one-gender exclusive.  Combining both genders within the two halls is a new idea for the campus and this will be the first time that the university has ever had all co-ed housing.

“Students who live there really enjoy their experience but they move on to a great degree to another residence hall after one year.  This tells us that more students want a co-ed experience,” Mulroy-Bowden wrote.

Melcher Hall is expected to have three wings of female residents and six wings of men.  Wilgus Hall is still expected to be primarily female and since there is only one restroom and showering facility per floor, men and women will be separated that way.  There will be one floor of men and two floors of women.  Unless trends start to drastically shift, there isn’t an expectation that the Residence Halls will have one-gender exclusive housing in the near future.

“We strive to provide great options for students where they will want to remain on campus, and time will tell if this decision impacts that.  We take our role in retention of students to the university very seriously, so student satisfaction is always a concern for us,” Mulroy-Bowden wrote.