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Articles: Residence Halls

Breaking the poverty cycle: Marcy Stidum not only created an apartment for homeless students, but she also helps them with financial planning and job searches.

By the end of August, two students had already lived in an emergency-housing apartment dedicated to the homeless at Kennesaw State University outside Atlanta. And the unit, one of the first of its kind in the country, had opened only two weeks earlier.

Mega-flexible: District House is centrally located and designed to be accessed by all students, not just residents. Modular furniture allows design and usage flexibility for residents.

District House, The George Washington University’s new residence hall, overlooks historic sites in the nation’s capital.

A 12-story, 342,000-square-foot mega-dorm, it accommodates nearly 900 students and includes six dining franchises, conference rooms, a performing arts center and campus food pantry. The energy-efficient structure, which uses LED lighting exclusively and has low-flow plumbing, is targeting LEED certification.

Although Granville Towers, located across the street from UNC Chapel Hill’s campus, was built in 1964, it has been refurbished and updated multiple times by EdR, which manages the 1,327-bed residence hall. Student amenities include weekly housekeeping services for in-suite bathrooms, on-site dining hall and fitness center, a community kitchen, study lounges and a gift-wrapping station.

“What advice do you have for administrators about making long-term relationships with firms like yours beneficial for both parties?”

“Colleges and universities must clearly define their primary objectives and maintain a degree of flexibility with respect to their approach in ultimately determining the business relationship with their private sector partner. By their very nature, P3s are not ‘business as usual’ and therefore require clarity of purpose and flexibility in approach.”

Public-private partnerships are a growing trend that allow universities to fund the construction of new buildings and, if desired, turn over maintenance and operations to skilled partners. Structuring these decades-long partnerships for a successful outcome involves careful planning on the big decisions and the details.

In 2016, news outlets across the nation reported several accidents and inconveniences in private student housing developments.

In Baltimore, a Morgan State University student was fatally stabbed in such a housing complex. At the College of Charleston in South Carolina, a student fell over a sixth-floor railing and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

And on the eve of finals, 80 UNC-Charlotte students were evacuated from a private housing complex because their building was sinking and deemed unsafe.

Strengthening the community: An entire residence hall at Onondaga Community College is now dedicated to about a dozen themed living/learning communities—proving you need not be at a four-year institution to experience the living/learning experience.

A dozen or so living-learning communities at Onondaga Community College are designed around themes such as wellness, criminal justice and STEM. About 30 percent of students who live on campus will be a part of such of community this school year.

The Fair Housing Act defines only dormitory accommodations that should be made for therapy pets. (Photo: Gettyimages.com/mssponge)

Pets can help students cope with stress, depression and other mental disorders. But until recently, this well-documented remedy did not guarantee a space for therapy animals on campus.

Also at UConn: The La Comunidad Intelectual learning community focuses on Caribbean and Latin American cultures.

The University of Connecticut’s recent announcement of a planned learning community intended for first- and second-year African-American male students has reignited a decades-old debate regarding ethnically themed living spaces on campus.

A risk of fire may be less dangerous than the chemicals used to prevent it, and Harvard is adapting accordingly.

The Healthy Green Campus project—an initiative to improve student health through sustainable practices—grew out of a collaboration between Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, researchers from the university’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, and the Silent Spring Institute.

Brent Betit helped found Landmark College, the world's first college for students with learning disabilities.

The spaces we create for people with learning disabilities can support success or guarantee failure.

Three decades ago, I led a team in designing an entire college campus specifically for students with learning disabilities.

Nearly two-thirds of higher ed readers surveyed expected a major renovation project to be launched or completed in 2016.

Picture it: Faculty no longer get their own offices and libraries have vanished. Dorm rooms come standard with private bathrooms and maid service, and terrazzo tile has replaced carpeting as the new standard flooring across college campuses. Sound ludicrous? Maybe not.

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.

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