By Lauren Piercey
From Beall Hall to a house in the woods, six guys get the chance to live in a house on campus, pets included.
Sophomores Jake Hans, Pancho Gutierrez, Tobin Davies, Tim Trimble, Wesley Rodgers and Jason Plant were asked to give up their housing space in Beall Hall because of the increase of freshmen. In return, they were assigned to the conference center house, already home to four feathered friends.
The conference center is known for its frequent peacock encounters.
“It’s almost like Jumanji out there with all the crazy peacock noises,” Hans said.
The residents befriended the birds and named them Kevin, David, Penelope and Crouton.
The birds weren’t the only surprise.
“I was the first to move in, and when I like I was on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” Hans said. “I could not believe that I was going to live there.”
The roommates had no idea what to expect. The conference center sits on a wooded area with a creek running below. They decided the unique place needed a new name.
“We came up with a few names for it,” he said. “The estate, the plantation, but we finally settled with the peacock estate.”
With a natural surrounding comes plenty of other wildlife.
“We have some deer, and we also have raccoons, which is not that great,” Hans said. “They have been getting into our trash, and we are pretty sure there (are) one or two in our attic.”
Housing students in the campus conference center was a result of an overall housing issue the university continues to face.
Director of Residence Life Donna Plank did not plan on using the house in the beginning, but because the number of students applying for housing increased, it became a reasonable solution.
“A decision was made to add an additional five houses, including the conference center, to the bed count,” Plank said.
Residence Life has not confirmed that the house will be used again next year.
“Ultimately, the university would like to have full use of the conference center for what it is designed to be,” she said.
Occupying the second and third floors of the house, the students are paired into three bedrooms.
The fourth room was converted into a game room.
“It has a love seat and two bean bag chairs,” Plant said.
“It has huge speakers for Rock Band. Usually we play games on Xbox, but movies are pretty cool to watch there too.”
House rules are the same as apartment regulations.
“The only extra rule we have is that (we are) not allowed to go down to the creek at night.”
From swinging in hammocks off the front porch to studying in bedrooms lined with dry-erase boards, the students are excited about the adventures that come from living in less than ordinary housing.
“The conference center is amazing,” Plant said. “We have been really blessed with this setup.”