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Articles: Residence Halls

Future E-shaped student apartment building and courtyard at the University of Indianapolis.

Apartment building at the University of Indianapolis

Up to 480 students will live in this $25 million, four-story apartment building. Located along the city’s increasingly vibrant Shelby Street corridor, the new structure will replace a 1950s-era, 60-unit apartment complex and an adjacent row of aging duplexes that now house 175 students.

The Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, also known as DKE, sued Wesleyan University after  its members were told they wouldn’t be allowed to live in their house next school year.

A push for coed fraternities has spawned a lawsuit at Wesleyan University, while a directive from the administration at Trinity College, also in Connecticut, has so far failed to further integrate Greek organizations.

Delta Kappa Epsilon, or DKE, sued Wesleyan in February after the fraternity’s members were informed they would not be able to live in their house in the 2015-16 school year. The fraternity is seeking an injunction against that decision.

The R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College will become the main point of entry onto campus for prospective students.

R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College (Mass.)

When this two-story, 15,000-square-foot facility opens in 2016, it will become the main point of entry onto campus and the first stop for prospective students. Besides the admissions office, it will house classrooms, meeting spaces, a bookstore and a cafe.

Many administrators say a significant number of students are willing to pay for residence halls that have more in common with modern hotels than with the cramped, concrete-block dormitories built in the 1960s and 70s. However, questions of who can—and can’t—afford the higher rates may arise around the housing allocation process as campus living becomes more luxurious.

A recent Boston Globe investigative series sparked national scrutiny of neighborhoods where some of the city’s college students are reportedly living in crowded, unsafe conditions. The allegations spawned a number of reactions from city officials.

Swipe for entry: Florida State and other  campuses are moving toward all buildings,  not just dorms, requiring a card key for access.

As violent crime has steadily increased on college campuses in the last three decades, institutional leaders have reacted by creating more stringent policies to restrict visitors from entering their academic, administrative and residential buildings.

One way to determine if a visitor management program is successful is to measure whether it has reduced crime on campus.

Since the University of Southern California in 2012 enclosed its campus with fencing and shut down access to visitors each night, the number of thefts occurring between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. has dropped by nearly 50 percent, says David Carlisle, deputy chief at the university’s Department of Public Safety.

 Now that  more housing has come online, students at Susquehanna University must abide by the live-on-campus policy.

Next fall, Susquehanna University will begin enforcing a long-standing policy requiring most students to live on campus all four years, officials at the Pennsylvania school say.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are a key part of safety systems.  Image courtesy of Siemens.

New York public and private colleges are now required to give every student written information about fire safety in residence halls and off-campus housing. Known as the Kerry Rose Fire Sprinkler Notification Act, it was named after one of three victims of the deadly fire that burned through a privately owned housing unit near the campus of Marist College in January 2012.

The future residence hall on Bryant Street at Howard U.

Campus Apartments broke ground on an estimated $107 million housing project at Howard University (D.C.). in March. The 1,360-bed project, slated for August 2014 completion, includes two on-campus facilities that will bring underclassmen closer to the campus core. The residences will offer two-person semisuites, social and study lounges, game rooms, and laundry facilities, as well as independent apartment units for faculty, staff, and guests.

For most colleges and universities, having students live on campus can provide a number of benefits, both in revenue and in classroom performance. So how can an institution maximize the benefits while creating an atmosphere that not only attracts a growing number of students, but also ensures that their experience is mutually beneficial? A comprehensive approach that emanates from the concept of providing improved value for the on-campus resident can have far reaching benefits for both student and school.

The $25.8 million New Central Residence Hall is scheduled for fall 2013 occupancy.

In all the understandable buzz about massive open online courses (MOOCs) and alternative models for delivering content, remember this: Residential campuses will continue to be critical to higher education and to preparing a competitive 21st-century workforce. Why? For starters, as MIT President L. Rafael Reif wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal, high quality online education and affordable residential campuses are intertwined.

Kutztown University (Pa.) was not as badly affected as places along the coast, but downed trees and extended power outages in the area were a challenge.

Hurricane Sandy made landfall in Atlantic City, NJ, at the end of October, creating devastation up and down the East Coast. Over 100 people in the U.S. died as a result of the storm and millions were without power for weeks. College and university campuses were not immune to the damage. Many institutions evacuated residential students as a precaution before the storm and were then forced to cancel classes for the rest of the week due to lack of power, as at the University of Hartford (Conn.) or hazardous conditions in their surrounding community, as at Fairfield University (Conn).

Campus safety inspections, which determined the type of environmental health and safety training needed for faculty, staff, students, and researchers, took three staffers four days followed by several days of data input. The school automated the process, cutting the number of hours in half and saving more than $49,000 in annual training and $8,000 in staff and travel costs.

With any campus building, what’s on the inside counts just as much—and probably more—than what’s on the outside. This is especially true with residence halls, which must include a balance of private and shared spaces. “The buildings need to promote interaction among students to encourage peer-to-peer learning in support of the institution’s academic mission,” says Jackson Kane, an associate and housing specialist at Lord, Aeck & Sargent. That’s no small order.