The transition into college communal living is an intimidating and difficult process for everyone. Moving out of your childhood home for the first time marks the end of an era in many of our lives. But going through Tech’s housing system can be an initiation unto its own.
The majority of Tech’s residence halls were built around the mid-20th century in the traditional dorm room layout.
We can all think back to our first year of college and recall the experience — communal showers, the never-ending walks up Freshman Hill and the long held, “Battle of the Quad” tradition between Glenn and Towers.
Here is a ranking of the First-Year Experience dorms based on renovation date, location and reputation — including some fun facts about their history and namesakes.
The Woodruff dorms were built in 1984 and haven’t been renovated since. They are located on the farthest west end of campus.
The dorms were named for George W. Woodruff, the director of the Coca-Cola Company, and son of Ernest Woodruff, director of the bank now known as Truist.
Woodruff gave over $100 million dollars to Emory and Tech, marking the largest donation to a higher learning institution at the time.
His mark is still felt on the school through the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, in addition to the Woodruff dorms on west campus.
Originally built in 1947 and last fully renovated 30 years ago, Smith sits at the entrance of the east campus. Smith is well-known for its distinctive honeycomb of communal showers and is limited to only male students.
The showers are a remnant from the building’s founding. Built in 1947 under President Van Leer, Smith was originally designed as the athlete’s dormitories. Smith remains the largest First-Year Experience dorm on campus, with four floors for residents and one floor for east campus custodial services.
Built in 1925, Brown is the oldest active residence hall at Tech. Located on the east end of campus near Bobby Dodd Stadium, it is also one of the smallest residence halls with some of the smallest rooms on campus.
Brown was the southeastern most point on Tech’s campus before the acquisition of the North Avenue Apartments by the Institute from Georgia State in 2007.
Cloudman is located by the northern side of Brittain Dining Hall, facing the stadium. Although well positioned in the center of the east campus, its last renovation was in 1993, and it is currently used as the Grand Challenges LLC dorm.
The building is named for Josiah Cloudman, a former Tech football player who donated $80,000 from his estate to construct the dormitory in 1930.
Named for the first president of the Institute, Isaac S. Hopkins, Hopkins is located right at the bottom of Freshman Hill, facing the Glenn/Towers (GT) Connector.
Hopkins served as the first chair of the physics department at the Institute, in addition to being a physics professor and president of the Institute.
Its last renovation was in 1995, and it has the only in-building laundry room shared between Perry/Matheson/Hanson/Field.
Constructed in 1926, this dorm was named for N. E. Harris. Harris is the only suite-style dorm available for freshmen on east campus, which may be more ideal for some. Although it was last renovated in 1992, it includes study rooms and a gym on the first floor.
Howell is the other Grand Challenges dorm, located behind Brittain Dining Hall on the southern side. Its last renovation was in 1999, but it was constructed in 1939.
Howell was named for Clark Howell, the founder of what is now WGKA radio station, with an endowment to construct the $163,000 dormitory.
Constructed in 1939, Harrison is the sister building to Howell, being constructed at the same time on east campus. Located opposite Howell, Harrison faces the far east end of campus.
Although last renovated in 1998, it remains the only freshman dorm that includes study rooms on the top floors.
Connected to either end of Hopkins, Hanson/Field were last renovated in 2002/2005. They are located right at the bottom of Freshman Hill. However, Hanson faces the interstate, which may contribute to noise pollution.
Hanson residence hall is named for John Hanson, the “father” of the Institute. Hanson introduced the bill to establish a state tech school in 1882, which was charted in 1885 into the Institute we know and love today.
Matheson/Perry are used as the Global Leadership LLC dorms. Connected in the same building, they were both built in 1961 and last renovated in 2002. Their close proximity to Freshman Hill make them ideal for freshmen.
Currently housing the Explore LLC program, Folk/Caldwell are “sibling dorms,” constructed as each others’ mirror images. They were last renovated in 2002/2005 and are located right next to the West Village Dining Hall. Folk was named for Edwin H. Folk, an English professor who became a campus favorite lecturer in his tenure.
Fulmer is an all-female dorm located on west campus built in 1969. It is one of the smallest residence halls on Tech’s campus, with only 60 beds.
It was last renovated in 2000 but includes in-building laundry rooms.
Fulmer was the first female dormitory on campus following the arrival of the first women to attend the Institute in 1952.
Used as the Impact LLC dorms, Hefner/Armstrong’s last renovations were 2008/2006, respectively. Its location on west campus means classes may be quite a walk away.
Hefner Residence Hall is named after Ralph Hefner, who was a professor of mathematics and dean of the general college at the Institute.
Most recently renovated in 2011 to 2012, the Fitten/Freeman/Montag Residence Halls are known as the nicest dorms on west campus, with a larger floor space and quieter location than the halls on east. They are a short walk from the West Village Dining Hall.
Young Frank Freeman, the namesake for Freeman Hall, worked at Paramount Pictures as a producer after graduating from Tech in 1910.
The quickest freshman dorms to fill up, Glenn/Towers can be competitive to get even for early admission applicants.
They are the most recently renovated dorms on campus in 2015/2014, respectively. Perks include a laundry room and lounge on every floor. Glenn and Towers are joined by the GT Connector, which includes a gym and study rooms.
The buildings were originally constructed in 1947.
Towers played an important role in the Ramblin’ Reck’s history. Former Dean of Students Jim Dull spotted a 1930 Model A Ford parked outside of Towers Dormitory in 1960.
Dull had been on the hunt for a car to be named the official Ramblin’ Reck, and left a note on the car’s windshield, explaining he wished to purchase the car.
The car’s owner, Delta Air Lines pilot Ted Johnson, sold the car to Tech and the rest is history!