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Western dorms nurture eco-friendly living, community atmosphere

By Jenna Tiller
On April 22, 2014

After a year of construction, the new Western Campus residence halls are finally scheduled to be completed by move-in day next fall. As the residence hall lottery and room selection process continues until April 23, students can consider the new halls as a viable option for next year.

Similar to Etheridge Hall, the new Western residence halls are built around a "house" concept, Director of Auxiliary Construction & Facilities Matthew Frericks said. Each floor will have three houses of approximately 45 people with the exception of the first floor, which will have only two houses. The project began in 2013, and is managed by Robert Bell. Approximately 800 people can be housed in the three buildings combined. The houses are built to have a community feel, so each has its own study and common area, as well as a kitchenette.

The rooms in the Western residence halls average around 200 square feet, which is considerably larger than the standard dorm room, Frericks said. The furniture also differs from that found in most residence halls. Instead of a tall dresser and desk, there will be a small dresser, a set of drawers, basic desk and shelves capable of being stored under a lofted bed. This is so students will have many more space-saving ways to rearrange their rooms. Each room also has a two-level light source that can be adjusted based on the user's needs.

Community space is a major concept in the new Western dorms. The main floor features an expansive common area with a fireplace, TV, study room and full kitchen. A laundry room and indoor bike rack are also located on the first floor. The second and third floors each have their own smaller common area and study room, as does each individual house. Each house also has its own TV.

According to Brian Woodruff, the Director of Housing Options, Meals & Events, the price for double rooms is $3,538, single rooms are $4,763 and triple rooms are $2,989. While this is more expensive than other upper-classmen dorms, the halls have the best amenities and have air conditioning.

Over the summer, new walkways will be installed so the residence halls will have easy access to both the new Western Dining Commons and Bachelor Hall.

The new Western residence halls use some energy saving features and sustainable practices. All three buildings connect to the new geothermal plant and will use solely geothermal energy. Each common area also features very large windows to let in more natural light, reducing the need for fluorescent light during the day. Furthermore, every room is equipped with a vacancy sensor that will shut off the light and lower the heat after the room has been vacant for a certain amount of time. Outside the dorms, there will be a storm water retention pond that collects storm water runoff from the surrounding area. This water will also be used to irrigate Cook Field.


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