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Twin Towers to turn 45 in 2014

On December 3, 2013

Marshall University is a place that is rich in history. If a student asks a question to the right person, checks out the right book or discovers the right thing in Morrow Library, they could uncover countless things about the university that they’ve never thought about. But not many students know that some of the most historical buildings on Marshall’s campus are the buildings that some of the students call home, the Twin Towers.

Standing 15 stories high above the rest of Marshall’s campus, Twin Towers are two of the most distinctive buildings because they are usually the first two buildings that come into view when approaching campus, as they can be seen from Pullman Square, Big Sandy Superstore Arena and even the bridge on Route 52. They have the title of the biggest dorm buildings, as well as being the third oldest dorm buildings still in use at Marshall, behind Holderby and Buskirk halls respectively. According to John Yuan, the director of housing and residence life, the buildings are almost iconic to the campus.

“The buildings have a commanding presence on campus,” Yuan said.

Breaking ground in 1966, construction of the Twin Towers didn’t begin until 1967. The buildings came to fruition over concerns that there would not be enough housing for students who wished to live on campus.

“The purpose of towered dorm buildings in colleges across the United States are to get as many students into as small of a space as possible, I know there is a dorm at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst that is 21 stories tall that was built during World War II to house returning veterans,” Yuan said.

The buildings were completed and ready to be moved in to in 1969. Each building would be later given a plaque that was dedicated to those who died in the Marshall football team plane crash in 1970.

From then on, Twin Towers East became the main dorms for freshmen until the freshmen dorm buildings were completed in the 2000s.

The two buildings feature double rooms and, if a student wants to pay a little extra, there are single rooms available.

Over the years, Marshall has set up numerous ways for students to better connect with one another, and make what could be a stressful experience for them into a more enjoyable one.

“They’re grouped together in what can be called the ‘first year experience,’ and the goal of that is to have the students live together, interact together and interact with faculty as well,” Yuan said.

Residents of the Twin Towers also have the benefit of being just steps away from a food source, as both towers are connected together in the middle by the Towers Marketplace, the smaller of the two dining halls now in use. Opened in the 1990s, the dining hall recently went under a major renovation in the summer of 2011.

The Twin Towers also have their share of myths and rumors about that might be inside of the building and even some tales of ghosts.

The most prevalent myth is the myth that when the towers were built, there were a pattern of lighter colored bricks on one wall on the outside of Twin Towers East that looked like the logo for West Virginia University, put there by one of the builders as a joke. The bricks have since been painted over, so there isn’t really a way of knowing if that story is true or not.

The residents’ opinions of the buildings also vary greatly. It seems like many students are 50-50 with their opinion of the building, as evidenced by Marshall sophomore athletic training major Dakota Hall.

“There are several good things about towers, like how we have access to a kitchen and we can have access to computers with printers without having to walk all the way to the library. But at the same time there are some bad things as well, like how some floors have problems with pests and how the building just feels dated,” said Hall.

Although the reputation of the buildings has fallen quite a bit due to the completion of the Freshmen Dorms, there are some plans in place to do some renovations to the towers, including plans to add private bathrooms and showers to the rooms, which is sure to catch some residents’ interest.

“We’re trying to modernize the towers as much as possible given that they are quite aged buildings. We’re trying to add basic aesthetic enhancements as well as give life improvements that we hope students will like,” Yuan said.

Colton Jeffries can be contacted at


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