By Brayden Carlson, Guest Writer

A large donation has boosted an effort to renovate two of the oldest housing complexes on campus, Vollmer and Centennial, Wartburg College officials recently announced.

Centennial and Vollmer halls were built nearly 70 years ago. They have remained nearly the same since their construction. Originally the halls housed women. The two residence halls now are home to about half of Wartburg’s first-year class, according to the college website. https://www.wartburg.edu/cent-voll/

Both buildings are four stories tall. Vollmer is an all-female dorm and Centennial houses both men and women. 

The goal is to raise $9 million in total for the $11 million project, the college site said. So far, $6 million has been raised.

Jack and Sarah Salzwedel plan to give $2 million for the project. Sarah Salzwedel is a 1982 Wartburg graduate.

Students said the renovations are needed.


Vanessa Hautekeete, a second-year disabilities studies major, lived on the third floor of Vollmer, an all-female dorm building. She said the conditions were dismal.  

“Living on the third floor, the heat controls were always useless. All the extra furnace air blasted into my room, making it well over 80 degrees for most of the winter,” Hautekeete said. “The floors were breaking, the paint was peeling or chipped almost everywhere. Laundry machines were as far away as they could get.”  

Savanna Rasmussen, a first-year student at Wartburg College, is currently living in Vollmer. 

“The heating doesn’t work very well or it works too well,” said Rasmussen. “I have had to have my window and fan since I got here because the room gets too hot.”  

Along with the dorms themselves being upgraded and renovated, the study area and lounges will also be renovated and made larger and more compatible with the number of students who have been asking for a better area to study.   

Hautekeete said Volmer Hall is unfriendly to someone with a physical disability. It was built before the American With Disabilities Act.

“Overall, conditions were livable for an able-bodied person, but they were far from ideal,” Hautekeete said. “Room space was sufficiently adequate but everything else is very sub-par especially compared to most other housing on campus. This remodel is long overdue, and I would love to see more physically accessible spaces for living in the Complex for disabled students.”  

The facilities being upgraded are what some students look forward to the most.

Dylan Deffenbaugh, a second-year history education major, said bathrooms could use some attention.  

“The bathrooms could have been better, one shower was always clogged and had an inch of water in it,” said Deffenbaugh. “Also, one toilet was clogged pretty regularly.”  

Lastly students would like to see the room sizes increase or become easier to work with. Double rooms are currently 12 by 14 ft. in both buildings

Allison Dorfler, a first-year student majoring in neuroscience and psychology found that it was cramped.  

“The amount of room is better now in my room,” said Dorfler, “Only because my roommate and I have bunked our beds, which has saved space.” 

“Limited amount of room can’t totally make it feel “homey” without it being too crowded,” said Rasmussen. 

The projected time for the upgrades being completed will be the summer of 2022.






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