City Paper is not for tourists
It wouldn’t be fair to write just about the so-called Virgin Vault at Virginia Tech. Because the Blacksburg campus has also been home to a seven-story all-male dorm so manly it earned itself not one, but two, nicknames over the years: the “Man Castle” and the “Seven Layers of Players.”
With over 1,000 beds, that’s a lot of players.
But this year, Pritchard Hall was forced to shed some of its storied testosterone—and try to carry on. Ken Belcher, associate director of housing at Tech, says the dorm became co-ed this fall. Now, 40 percent of its residents are female.
For a dorm that used to be all men, that’s a lot of females.
NPR reported earlier this year on the administration’s decision to allow women in Pritchard, mentioning a few of the things that had taken place (in reality or according to legend) in the residence hall: “wild slip-and-slide parties” in the hallways, the pushing of a vending machine out a top-floor window, and an unofficial contest that centered around not flushing a urinal. “It went for a few days, and it was pretty bad,” one student reported.
When the Collegiate Times, the student newspaper, reported in January on what it called the “end of an era” at Pritchard, one former resident, Scott, who lived in the building in 1999-2000, wrote in with a eulogy of sorts:
Men of Pritchard, Many years from now, tell your children and grandchildren that you lived in the days of hardship and glory, you lived in the days of fire alarms and alcohol poisoning, you lived in the days of Legends; of flaming couches and flying soda machines; of cries of “MAN IN THE PIT!!!” Many years from now, tell your grandchildren that you truly learned that What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Tell them you lived with Seven Layers of Players, that you lived before the castration of Pritchard Hall.
Perhaps stating the obvious, Belcher told City Desk yesterday that feminizing Pritchard has “really changed the whole dynamic of the building.”
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