The foundation has set, the steel structure is in place, and the UNC Asheville community can finally see the campus' newest residence hall taking shape. This five-story, energy-efficient, 300-bed housing facility located in the center of the residential corridor between Governors Hall, Mills Hall, and The Ridges residence halls will allow more sophomores, juniors, and seniors to remain on campus and give current off-campus students the opportunity to move back to campus. There will also be increased on-campus living opportunities for transfer students.
"The projected completion date is the first of August," said Vollie Barnwell, Director of Housing Operations. "So this facility will be available for the Fall 2012 semester." Students currently living on or off campus will get priority room selection if they sign up for Fall housing during the February 27-March 1 and March 13-16 sign up periods.
Residents will live in four-, or six-person suites that combine single and double rooms with a shared living area and bathroom. In all, the new residence hall will contain 75 double rooms and 150 singles.
During the planning phase, students gave feedback to the architects who wanted to create a functional yet desirable housing experience, according to Barnwell. Online floorplans of the suites show the arrangement of rooms, common areas and the bathrooms. After hearing from students, architects designed the bathrooms with walls that allow suitemates to use the shower and changing room, toilet, and sink areas at the same time, but in privacy. Gone are the days of one person occupying the entire bathroom in the morning.
"Another piece of feedback that we got from students is that they needed more public spaces throughout the residence hall," says Barnwell. "They wanted useful public places like study rooms, computer labs, entertainment lounges and this new residence hall has a variety of all those spaces and more."
"They wanted useful public places like study rooms, computer labs, entertainment lounges and this new residence hall has a variety of all those spaces and more."
-Vollie Barnwell, Director of Housing Operations
Public Spaces in the New Residence Hall Include:
- Each floor will have two quiet study areas with either desks/tables or sofas and chairs.
- Enclosed rooftop lounge with views of campus and Mount Pisgah
- Three kitchenettes
- Two laundry rooms
- A food court featuring pizza, grab-and-go items and more, that will be open late and available to the campus
- Multipurpose room that will be available to the campus
The new residence hall is a “high performance” building, designed with a stress on sustainability, to minimize environmental impact in a holistic way, including taking advantage of daylight and geothermal energy. The geothermal system, which uses underground wells to supply warmth in the winter and cooling in the summer, will make the new residence hall the most energy-efficient student living facility on campus.
"This system will not only help the new residence hall use less electricity. It will be connected to other nearby buildings to make them more efficient," said Barnwell. The geothermal wells will supply heating and cooling to the nearby Governors Hall and Governors Village through shared mechanical systems. The new residence hall will also supply solar-heated hot water to Governors Hall and Governors Village. (By the Fall semester, solar hot water panels will be added to Mills Hall, too).
Students living in the new residence hall will also be able to see exactly how much energy they're using in their rooms. "We'll have monitors that show students exactly what they are using," says Barnwell. "It will be a helpful and educational tool for our students." Another green feature will be room lights controlled by occupancy sensors to save electricity.