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This is the first of a two-part series about advancements to come around campus

This is the first of a two-part series about advancements to come around campus.

 

By Kristin Hodges

kdh027@latech.edu

 

New apartment-style housing is among the proposed concepts that could change the way students see Tech’s campus.

Jim King, vice president for student affairs, said the changes are still in the planning and designing stages and the proposed construction projects are subject to change. King emphasized that no plans have yet been set in stone.

“It is all a concept. It has been changing daily,” King said. Aging residential facilities need to be replaced, and part of the conceptual construction project is new housing for students, King said.

“Most of our facilities were built in the mid ’60s,” King said. “It’s the high rises that don’t provide the amenities that the students are looking for.”

King said the high-rise buildings have long, narrow corridors and are not as comfortable of a living environment as they used to be.

“The idea of resident life is very important,” King said. “Coming together, working together, living together, sharing meals together is a significant part of a university experience and we cannot forget that.”

King said student affairs has done many studies which show that students who live on campus have higher grades, higher retention rates and higher levels of satisfaction and commitment to the university.

“The first location that we think has the most possibilities is an extension of University Park,” King said.

The extension would be constructed where the tennis courts are on Alabama Avenue, King said. He also said the tennis courts could be moved to the area between Joe Aillet Stadium and the Jim Mize Track and Field.

The new apartments would be housed in commons, or groups of buildings much like University Park, but there would be several differences.

“These [apartments] are full service. Full kitchen, very generous space, bigger than University Park,” King said.

King said the number of beds is the number of students who could live in the apartments.

There will be three-bedroom townhouses, two-bedroom flats and one-bedroom studios each with a full kitchen, washing machine and dryer, King said.

Laura Harvey, a senior chemical engineering, said she thinks more high-end apartments are not needed.

“There are enough students who struggle to be able to afford living in the dorms,” Harvey said. “What is needed is a new dorm so all students who need housing can get it.”

King said the old residential model of residence halls has demonstrated its value over the years, but the apartment style changes the model to what students are looking for currently.

“Each one of these commons has about 100 students, so it’s basically a floor, but instead of being all cramped up and in there together, you share green space,” King said.

He said green space is grass, trees and even recreational fields.

He said if the common holds about 100 students, each of the three or four buildings will hold about 30 students with the first floor holding eight students, second floor holding eight and the third-floor townhouses holding 16.

“The likelihood of you getting to know your neighbors has greatly improved,” King said.

Krystle Warren, a freshman biology major, said she would enjoy having more room on campus.

“I know many people that live in the dorms, and we all complain of the same things, the foremost being not enough room,” Warren said.

King said construction on Alabama Avenue could begin this summer.

“Much like we did with University Park, 100 to 150 beds come on line that fall, 100 through 150 beds that winter, and 100 to 150 beds for the spring,” King said.

He said when this extension project is complete, students arriving at Tech will have many options of where to live safely.

“Part of the initiative is not just to build housing, it is to build a campus climate that is safe and that is productive and aesthetically pleasing,” King said. “[The new housing] begins to say you’re at Tech, you’ve arrived. You get a sense of destination, a sense of community.”


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