Couple opens all-girl dorm - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Couple opens all-girl dorm

August 24, 2003

Albany- The house at 1301 Dawson Road started off as an investment property for Janice Osei Grant and her husband, but quickly became something else.

"Just coming in and going through it, it dawned on me the first time I went through it that this is a dorm house," she says.

With all new furnishings the 4,000 square foot house has been transformed into a spacious all-girl dormitory for local college students.

"It's an all inclusive living arrangement with basic phone service, computer, cable, utilities, and even the furnishings, dishes, and linen. All they have to bring are their personal items and their towel and washcloth," adds Osei Grant.

The house was built in 1940 and not only has a lot of space , but also has a lot of history. The dorm will be named after the late owner Marge Starkel, who died just last year.

"She really was a pacesetter because she never saw any color barrier at all. She loved all people," remembers family friend, Martha Mcgraw.

Those who knew Starkel say she was a champion for civil rights. Her friends credit her as being one of the few white members of the NAACP and Urban League who joined before it became fashionable.

"Marge would be absolutely delighted and I know she's smiling down from heaven because this is exactly what she would have wanted," says Mcgraw.

Owners say they are giving college women a comfortable, stylish place to live while honoring the spirit of a woman who gave so much of herself.

Osei Grant says if the Marge Starkel house does well, she and her husband may consider opening all-male version of the dorm.

Posted at 6:00 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com