University sweetens housing

This coming August, Northern Kentucky University will open the doors of its newest housing project to students.

University Suites will be the culmination of a number of objectives. According to Todd Duncan, director of University Housing, “It will combine attributes of the traditional residence halls with those of the apartment buildings, promoting community while maintaining privacy.”

The features and amenities of the new building were determined as a result of considerable involvement by the Student Government Association as well as research and direct feedback taken from NKU students.

Among the many benefits the building will offer to its new residents are: three elevators, a laundry room, a computer lab, vending and ice machines, and a main lobby with an information desk. It will also contain a 1,000 square foot, multi-purpose, smart classroom where some classes will be taught. And, in each wing of every floor, there will be a community lounge.

The new dorm offers students a choice of two different suite styles. One of the styles consists of two double-occupancy bedrooms, each connected to its own private bathroom. The second suite style consists of four private bedrooms with two separate bathrooms. All suites will accommodate four students and maintain a ratio of only two students to a bathroom. Each bedroom in University Suites will be larger than those of the other halls. Although furniture selection is still in the process, each room will contain the following for each student: a multi-positional, bunk-able bed, a moveable wardrobe, a dresser, a phone jack, a data port, four electrical outlets and, of course, cable television jacks. There will be two independently switched ceiling lights allowing half the room to be lighted while the other half is not. The moveable furniture and ample outlets will allow students to control the space and setup of the room. Separate data ports and phone jacks will allow each student the privilege of possessing his or her own computer and phone line. As for the bathrooms, the sink will be located outside the door to the toilet and shower– to maintain privacy and accommodate dual use.

In addition to all this, unlike a “two-key” building such as Kentucky or Commonwealth where an ID only grants you access to the hall and into the wing, University Suites will be a “one-key” building. Card access will grant students entry into all areas designated to them except for his or her bedroom. For example, your student ID will allow you into the building, the wing, and your suite. Not even your mailbox will require a key. Individual mailboxes with a combination will be assigned. But, you will still have a key for your bedroom.

“The new building aims to provide choices to students in lifestyle, amenities, and costs,” Duncan said. “It will have a positive impact on the whole campus, not just housing and the residential student body.”

The increase in capacity for on-campus students is expected to have wide-reaching affects on everything from an increase in Greek life to an increase of library use.

In conjunction with the opening of the University Suites, an exciting new pilot program will also be launched, giving students an opportunity to participate in real life experiences. It is a program oriented toward encouraging living/learning communities, promoting out of classroom experiences that will provide opportunities such as hosting guest speakers and coordinating community service projects. The pilot program opening this fall will focus on a Social Justice Community.

The new building boasts a capacity of 398 beds, but a certain number of those will be reserved for first year students in order to maintain the distribution of underclass and upperclassmen. This reserve, yet to be determined, will not impact current students. The distribution of the rest of the beds will occur in the same fashion as the general renewal process of the other dorm halls. Priority will be based on the number of hours earned by a student.

On January 27, at 8:30 a.m., University Housing will begin accepting applications from current campus residents to reside in the University Suites next semester. The first 50 people will receive a free t-shirt and pizza, however this will not guarantee any student a room in the new building. Additional incentives will also be offered to students who would be first time on-campus residents as well as to the students who refer them. For details please consult with the Housing Department.