Neptune Hall North open to students next year


Rachel Cormier

A mural of The Beatles painted on the outside of a mock-up single dorm in Neptune North. Neptune North will be offering rooms starting Fall 2023. (Rachel Cormier | Northern Star)

By Rachel Cormier, News Reporter

DeKALB – Since Neptune Hall North closed its doors in Spring 2020, its entrance has stood vacant in the center of campus, but come Fall 2023, NIU will be opening the residence hall’s doors once again.

“Housing and Residential Services is reopening Neptune North for the next academic year to accommodate an increase in demand for on-campus housing,”  said Dan Pedersen, executive director for Housing and Residential Services, in an email.

With a projected 100% capacity for all NIU residence halls, NIU is preparing once again to house a surplus of students, according to interim Student Government Association speaker Debbie Allen’s note from the last SGA meeting.

Housing saw its highest occupancy since 2015 at the beginning of the Fall semester with 3,973 students having requested on-campus housing, according to NIU Housing and Residential Services.

With Neptune North opening, the Fine Arts House was given the first peek at what living in the hall would look like.

The Fine Arts House is exclusive to students enrolled in the School of Theatre and Dance, the School of Art and Design and the School of Music where they have access to the private rehearsal space and art studio in the basement of Neptune North.

Residents of the Fine Arts House have still had access to these spaces since the move to Neptune East at the beginning of the pandemic when it was used as a quarantine block for students who had contracted COVID-19.

Residents at the open house saw a mock-up single room that looked almost identical to the rooms found in East and West Neptune.

A main attraction at the open house was the painted murals over resident doorways, featuring paintings of Spiderman and Porky Pig or gated doorways into mystical and underwater backgrounds.

Future Neptune North residents would be allowed to paint their doorways. The existing murals dating back to the ‘90s and early 2000s are still untouched.

Neptune North has separate halls for men and women, similar to Gilbert Hall. The main difference for Neptune North is the showers offer less privacy depending on which side you live on.

Neptune North doesn’t have bathroom stall doors, instead using privacy curtains. Additionally, while women’s bathrooms have two curtains per cubicle, men’s bathrooms only have one.

Along with the bathrooms, former residents of Neptune North are familiar with the lack of air conditioning.

A comment from a former resident of Neptune North, Jimmy Minard, fifth year music education and trumpet performance major, complained about the lack of ventilation in Neptune North.

“When I was in the marching band, in band camp it was insufferable,” Minard said. “Like, I had three box fans going because it was just that hot, and unless they make it cheaper I wouldn’t recommend anyone living there.”

Fine Arts House residents were met with stacks of new air conditioning units in the Neptune North lobby where their tour began.

Residential advisers of the House couldn’t confirm if the AC units would be for Neptune North, but freshman Mike Kozel, resident of the Fine Arts House and theater tech major, originally planned to move to Neptune North and said the lack of AC is not a problem for him.

“I realized once I was here (Neptune East) it’s cold most of the year anyways, so the AC is really nice, but I can also just open the window,” Kozel said.

Currently, there is no confirmation on whether the Fine Arts House will move to Neptune North, with a few residents reconsidering their move, as they were promised a lower price than the current Neptune rates around April 17 after the open houses.

Future Fine Arts residents of the House were offered the price of $5,404 per semester, the same cost as a double room in Neptune East for the price of a Neptune North single.

“Originally, yes, before they changed the prices because they advertised it as a single being cheaper than a double there,” Kozel said. “That was really good advertising because wherever is the cheapest works best for me.”

The cost has gone back to the standard price for Neptune Hall double rooms and singles, costing $6,452 per semester.