Bruceland: Auburn’s New Student Housing

While most of the Auburn campus was asleep, a few brave students weathered the chilly Friday morning weather and began setting up their new home. This new student housing development is called Bruceland.

Russell Clark, a sophomore in exercise science, and his friend Jackson Marsh, a junior in biosystems engineering, were the first members of this new community. They were the first to gather outside Auburn Arena around six in the morning. The class was secondary on Friday.

“It was very cold,” Clark said. “But we had to be the first. Since then, we have relaxed.

Auburn’s No. 2 basketball doesn’t have a Friday game though. Auburn plays the following Saturday at noon. The Tigers host the No. 12 Kentucky Wildcats, in what could be the biggest game in Auburn Arena history.

Clark and Marsh don’t care about waiting over 30 hours in the cold to watch the game. They would have waited longer.

“It was really cool to be the first here,” Marsh said. “Some guys from school knocked on our tent around seven in the morning and took pictures of us. They called us crazy. But it’s all kind of crazy.

The sentiment shared by the two friends is shared throughout Auburn’s new basketball city. More than 60 tents have been set up around the green spaces in front of the Arena and along the winding paths of the Village.

“Walmart must like this,” Clark said.

And Walmart probably loves it. A student has raised nearly $2,000 from the new people of Bruceland and is going on a run for supplies. Lots of students have portable heaters and water, but the two buddies only have a few whiskey shooters.

“That’s all you need to keep warm, isn’t it?” Marsh said.

There are literally hundreds of students populating the outside of Chick-fil-A Village. And this number is only increasing. Many students have started to take matters into their own hands to keep busy.

Someone installed a cornhole; another student was setting up his speaker and playing country music; a few kids have set up a beer pong table. But perhaps the best setup of all is Ashley Fountain’s.

Fountain, her little sister, and her “freshman friends,” as Fountain calls them, knew they had a problem. They knew that lying or sitting on the concrete or the grass was going to be miserable. So they did the only reasonable thing to solve this problem: they bought a sofa.

The “Jungle Couch” is now a landmark in Bruceland, the city’s first official dedication to one of Auburn basketball’s greatest moments.

Fountain and his group bought the brown recliner sofa at a thrift store about an hour before arriving in Bruceland, around 2 p.m.

They split the prize six ways.

“It was $25 per person,” Fountain said. “What a flight. And now we’re kinda famous.”

The group transported the couch in two separate pieces, set it up, and planned to sit on it for as long as possible. This brings us to the question: what happens when they enter the game?

“Well, we’re hoping he stays here so we can pick him up on the way out,” Fountain said. “We could just leave it, kind of like a tribute, you know? Maybe the school will let him stay.

All around the couch, the students floated, bracing themselves against the 37-degree weather. The temperature will only drop, however, is expected to drop below freezing around midnight – around a dozen hours until game time.

A college student decided he could use the weather for his financial gain and bought hand warmers from a local store and sold them through the Team Shop. His buddies around him were making coffee and drinking in the natural light. It could be 100 degrees outside. They wouldn’t have cared.

Friday night, students can enter Auburn Arena, but not for basketball. Auburn’s gym has a meeting at seven o’clock, and they can see a huge crowd.

“To be honest, I don’t know anything about gymnastics,” Clark said. “But it’s hot inside and they have food. Better than freezing here.

Whether you call it Pearlville, Bruceland, Bruce Vegas or any other name, it’s a monument to the man who made Auburn basketball the second best team in the nation. It’s a testament to the players who believed in Auburn and who have come and gone to develop the program.

This slum of green and blue tents is for Charles Barkley, Samir Doughty and Sharife Cooper and every other player in between.

Night has just set over the new town of Auburn. It’s only going to get colder. But the students will be there. They all believe in Auburn and they love it. The Jungle will be crazy on Saturday.

Click here to see a gallery of students camping outside Auburn Arena.

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