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New dorm could keep more students living on UW-Whitewater campus

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Kayla Bunge
February 28, 2008
— Communal bathrooms and double-loaded corridors are on the way out.

UW-Whitewater is constructing a new suite-style residence hall with the modern student in mind. Each suite will have a common room, kitchen and bathroom and is designed to house only four residents, each with a private room.


The apartment-style trend in college dorms is driven by higher expectations from students and by universities’ desire to keep students on campus.


Jeff Janz, director of residence life at UW-Whitewater, said the suite concept offers students a balance of privacy and community.


“They can shut the door to their own private room with the camaraderie of a community of … people living together,” he said.


Besides the four-bedroom suites, the residence hall will have all the amenities expected of a traditional dorm: common lounge space, a laundry room and meeting rooms.


The building, however, will be unique among other suite-style residence halls, Janz said.


It’s going to be the first “green” building in the UW System, built in accordance with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, which is a standard for environmentally friendly design, construction and operation.


Janz said 10 percent of the rooms will be wheelchair accessible. Designated suites will be big enough that students in wheelchairs could be roommates.


UW-Whitewater hasn’t built a new residence hall in more than 40 years.


Construction of the new dorm is set to begin this fall and is part of a UW-Whitewater five-year campus renovation, which began in summer 2006.


The new residence hall will replace Sayles and White halls. Sayles Hall was razed last spring to make room for the new College of Business and Economics building. White Hall is being used by faculty, who have been displaced by renovation elsewhere.


The razed halls have subtracted about 400 beds, but the new dorm will add about 450.


As part of the renovation, one residence hall is scheduled to be offline each year for the next decade or so for electrical and plumbing upgrades, resulting in a net reduction of about 150 beds.


Room rates for the new dorm are expected to be between 5 and 10 percent more than the traditional single room rate, which is $4,408 for the 2008-09 school year.


The project is estimated at about $36 million. The dorm should be open for the fall 2010 semester.


TO LEARN MORE

An environmental impact statement is being prepared for the new suite-style residence hall at UW-Whitewater.


People can identify issues they think should be addressed in the study during an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, in the main meeting room of the UW-Whitewater Visitor Center, 826 Starin Road. Free parking is available in Lot 7 behind the visitor center.


Those who cannot attend can send written comments to Ben Peotter of Ayres Associates, 1802 Pankratz St., Madison, WI 53704-4069 or peotterb@AyresAssociation.com.



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