Room at the inn: UW-Whitewater students won't be overcrowded this fall

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Friday, August 30, 2013

WHITEWATER--What does it take to move 4,300 students into their college dorm rooms?

Sweat, tears—mostly from parents—and a whole lot of trips to the nearest store for forgotten necessities such as ramen noodles, ping pong balls and maybe something school related, like a notebook. 

Thursday was move-in day at UW-Whitewater, and for the first time in many years, the residences halls will not be overcrowded, said Frank Bartlett, director of residence life.

Over several years, UW-Whitewater has been undergoing major renovations to its residence halls.  Wellers Hall was the most recently renovation.

Enrollment has been steadily increasing. This year, more than 12,000 students are attending. About 10,700 are undergraduates. 

UW-Whitewater has on-campus residency requirement for freshmen and sophomores, meaning that students, unless they are married or are commuters, must live in the dorms.

Many of the residence halls were built in the 1960s and are starting to show their age, Barlett said.

 “The infrastructure really needed to be upgraded,” Bartlett said. “We also took several extra steps for universal design.”

Universal design refers to making everything in a building accessible to wheelchairs.

Renovations included such items as new windows, bathrooms and furniture.

Designers also focused on sustainability, Bartlett said.

Light fixtures and showers were designed to save energy, and dual-flush toilets, with one setting for solid waste and another for liquid waste, were installed.

The university's newest dorm, Starin Hall, which was completed in 2010, was recognized for its energy-saving features.

Although all the residence halls will be open this fall, the university is still renting apartments buildings in the community to house students, Bartlett said.

Because of that, and because of increasing enrollment, the university has plans to build a new, 400-bed dorm.

“The state has told us that we can expect it to be open by 2017,” Bartlett said. “We'd like it to be sooner.”


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