AR12: Not your traditional digs
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This summer, the University of Iowa broke ground on the first new residence hall to be built on campus since 1968.
The $53 million West Campus Residence Hall will be located on the corner of Grand Avenue and Byington Road, just east of Rienow Hall. In addition to housing for 501 students, it will include a multi-purpose room with a performance space, a sports grill operated by University Dining, a seminar room, tutoring and group study areas, a common area kitchen, and offices for residence hall staff.
But the most notable feature of the new hall will be its student living space.
“It’s not going to be your traditional residence hall,” says Von Stange, senior director of University Housing and Dining. “Student priorities, interests, wants, and needs have changed in the 44 years since we last built a residence hall at Iowa.”
By the time construction is complete on the newest University of Iowa residence hall in 2015, it will have been more than a century since the UI opened its first hall: Currier, a dormitory for women, in 1914. A lot has changed in the past 100 years regarding student housing.
The new residence hall is designed around the concept of living-learning communities (LLCs)—residential communities that connect students with common academic goals or interests. Those students live together in the residence hall, participate in activities centered on their common interest, and may also take a class or two together. Popular LLCs at Iowa include Women in Science and Engineering, Iowa Writers, and Health Sciences, among others.
“Living-learning communities are the future of housing at Iowa,” Stange says. “So we’ve put a special emphasis on tutoring and study space, as well as community space for the entire west neighborhood.”
The LLCs will be housed in pods of 26 to 28 students in double rooms, and will include a group study room, a lounge with dining space, and private bathrooms. Three floors of the 10-floor building will also include smaller clusters of rooms.
The UI has offered living-learning communities for more than 20 years. During the 2012–13 academic year, approximately one-fourth of the 4,400 first-year students living on campus are choosing to live in an LLC.
Like all new construction and renovation projects at the UI, the West Campus Residence Hall is designed with sustainability in mind, and will be built to silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards. Notable sustainability-related characteristics planned for the new residence hall include a heat recovery chiller unit, recycling rooms on each floor, green outlets designed to reduce electricity consumption, and temperature and light sensor controls in student rooms and common areas.
The new residence hall is funded by residence system revenue bonds.
Construction is expected to be completed in the spring of 2015, with the first student residents occupying the rooms that fall.