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Going up: New residence halls taking shape

September 10, 2002

Excavation has ceased, footings have been poured and exterior walls are rising on the University's eight-building, 304-bed housing project.

Groundbreaking for the project, located on the northwest side of campus, took place in May, and construction is “right on schedule,” for occupancy in Fall 2003, according to Joe Mills, director of housing.
“We're about 30 percent complete,” he says. “We're getting ready to install plumbing.”

The extensive “plumbing” in the buildings is actually one of their attractions. Every bedroom will have an adjoining bath and shower. “That's going to be a major advantage,” Mills says. “A lot of universities still have a common bath at the end of the hall. But students today are used to having their own bathroom.”

They're also accustomed to having their own bedroom. “We've done a lot of surveys, and the No. 1 thing students want is a single bedroom,” Mill says. “These units provide that.”

Of course, communal living is part of the life-on-campus experience, so each apartment also has a living room where residents can come together to watch TV or hang out.

They also can gather in the commons building, which has meeting rooms, a Laundromat, a kitchen and a lecture room. Why a lecture room? “We may be going to a living and learning community, where some assignments are based on classes students are taking, and some of the courses are taken here,” Mills says.

“We'd like faculty members to teach some classes, particularly freshman orientation classes, in the lecture room here.”

The eight buildings making up the project are arranged in a semi-circular pattern parallel to Home Avenue. That, along with the commons area and connecting sidewalks, were designed to foster a “village” feeling, a greater sense of community, among the 304 students fortunate enough to occupy the buildings.

The future of the Foust house, an abandoned historic house on the site, remains uncertain. “We're committed to keeping it up for the next seven years, because we accepted a grant for roof replacement,” Mills says. “After that, we don't' know.”

With details like Palladian-style windows, eyebrow dormer and double-stack “faux” chimneys, the new buildings will complement the University's existing Georgian-style architecture. The attractive facades, the village “feel” and, most of all, the privacy of single-bedroom living is certain to hold tremendous appeal for incoming students.

“Students make decisions about college in part on living arrangement,” Mill says. “I'm certain that having housing this attractive will contribute to our enrollment.”