The 2016 Spring semester is bringing in lots of changes, including new and improved Residence Hall lobbies for West, East and North Hall. The renovations consist of new lighting, floors, RA desks, extended lounge areas and communal kitchens for each of the halls.
“I think of the biggest points of the renovation is the addition of a kitchen,” said Ryan Hill, Residence Coordinator for North Hall and the First-Year Experience. “We used some survey results over time and we found that residents really wanted a kitchen to be available to them, and that spurred a lot of the renovations.”
Jody Inman, Associate Director and Operations Manager for Housing Services said that the kitchens are also available for summer guests to use.
“One of the issues we saw was that it was hard for the RA’s to see both of the entrances to the lobby, so we renovated and moved the desks to be in a better position,” said Hill.
The renovations are meant to make operations and activities within the residence halls work more smoothly and be more beneficial for everyone involved. If RA’s have an easier time doing their jobs, students will have an easier and more fun experience on campus. Along with desks, the lobbies have new and improved lounge areas.
“We knocked a wall out of the lounge, so now we have a more open concept for the seating in the lounge areas… We’re bringing in new furniture soon,” said Hill. “There’s also a partition between the seating and the bathrooms now.”
Residence Life and Housing coordinated to create a plan for renovations that benefited students and the needs of the school.
“We opened the lobbies up that allow more space for community meetings. We wanted to create a more functional and friendly area for students to socialize and gather,” said Inman. “The approximate cost for the lobby renovation in the three resident halls was $750,000. This included new design, flooring, paint, kitchen and furniture.”
Students living the residence halls expressed hopefulness for the new options that come with the renovations.
“I think they look a lot better and more dorm-friendly,” said Cole Warren, an Economics major living in North Hall. “The kitchen will offer a chance to differ our variety on store-bought food; it’s a great idea.”
Students like Maria Jackson, a Health Sciences major also living in North, are excited at the prospect of having more food availability after the Dining Hall closes, since many students have schedules that make it difficult to get meals after class.
“We might make cookies or something,” said Jackson, “It’ll be much easier to access than the cafeteria.”
The construction started during the Fall Semester and is set to be completed within the next month.