Dorm Stories: Kilachand Hall

Constructed in 1923 as a Sheraton Apartment Hotel, the Kilachand Hall building occupied a coveted square of space between Fenway and the Charles River Basin, drawing hundreds of famous faces to stay. In 1954, BU bought the building and made it into a dormitory. For a great in-depth history of the dorm, check out the BU Today article.

Among the assets named by residents are: its proximity to Marciano Dining hall at 100 Bay State road and Kenmore station, its picturesque views of the Charles river,  its generally peaceful environment (excluding Kenmore celebrations), air conditioning and heat in the rooms, private bathrooms in a suite, abundant laundry machines, and its newly renovated lobby.

Kilachand study room | Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University Photography
Kilachand study room | Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University Photography

The downsides to the dorm, however, are plentiful. The most prominent being its lack of a printer and mailroom, its tendency to sometimes be a little too quiet, its distance from classes, its relatively cramped staircases, and the lack of renovation to the rooms despite the beautiful new lobby. 

And while many of the complaints about the building seem to reflect the fact that the dorm is simply in need of renovation, others appear to be easily addressed. “We’re the largest collection of honors students on campus,” Dana Barnes (CAS ’16) said, “[so] the fact that we don’t have our own printer seems like a big oversight”– and certainly one that is easily fixed. She added that “instead of installing several huge flatscreens in weird corners maybe that money could have been used to fix the carpet in my room”. Saira Malhotra (CAS ’17) and Ritesh Singh (ENG ’17) agreed, adding that while they love almost everything about the dorm, the lack of a printer and the fact that they have to clean their own bathroom is definitely a downside.

Beyond the everyday gripes, the students at 91 Bay State love to reveal their dorm’s more obscure quirks. “Don’t call it Kilachand!” a student called over his shoulder with a laugh. While the building may have been officially renamed Kilachand Hall thanks to a $25 million gift in 2011, the student population has made it very clear that it will forever be referred to by the cool kids as Shelton.

Ninth floor study space | Photo courtesy of Allison McKinnon

Additionally, while the lobby may feel like the international space station, the basement of Shelton Hall has more of an abandoned asylum aesthetic. Covered in weird graffiti phrases and bizarre rows of locked doors leading through maze-like hallways, the basement is downright terrifying. Looking for a great place to film a horror movie on campus? Definitely check it out.

Adding to the mystique of the building, the fourth floor is known as one of the most haunted places on campus. With its dim lighting, low ceiling, strange noises, and mysteriously locking doors, the writer’s corridor (so named because of its connection to playwright Eugene O’Neill’s death) is pretty eerie. “Sometimes we can’t get our door open,” freshman Jia Yao (CAS ’17) said. “The knob will turn but the door just won’t open.” Other students have commented that the elevator will sometimes open on the fourth floor on its own and the light behind the number 4 button never turns on.

Despite the creepier aspects of the dorm, the glass-topped ninth floor offers amazing views of Boston and the Charles river, 24-hour quiet study spaces, and comfy chairs and couches. A great common space to hangout away from the finals crowds at Mugar and quieter than the dining halls, the ninth floor is quite a gem.

So this finals season, if you’re looking for a potentially haunted study space with a rich history, Shelton/Kilachand Hall is absolutely worth a visit.

About Carly Sitrin

I'm the senior editor of The Quad. Interests include: frogs, backpacks, satire, Adele, and the oxford comma. Tweet me your dreams @carlysitrin.

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