No more hotel living for ISU students
Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 00:08
On-campus housing options for ISU students are expected to increase significantly in the next three years as the Residential Life continues renovations of existing halls and the construction of a new residence hall.
Residential Life Director Rex Kendall said the renovations and the construction of a new residence hall will improve the college experience for ISU students.
Even though the construction completion dates extend beyond the upcoming school year, Kendall said the university is expecting another large enrollment of students but will have no problem accommodating the student’s housing needs this fall.
In the past two years, Residential Life has contracted Candlewood Suites hotel, located on Wabash Avenue, to accommodate the influx of students living on campus. The Commission for Higher Education reported that the university’s on-campus housing capacity was at 99 percent in the fall of 2009.
“There is no longer a contract with Candlewood right now,” Kendall said. “At the present time we are going to be able to accommodate everyone on campus.”
The university undertook a minor renovation on the Lincoln Quads this summer. The Commission for Higher Education reported that the Lincoln Quads, which have not been renovated in over 40 years, does not meet fire safety and ADA compliance regulations.
But Kendall said this is not the case. The residence hall has an elevator to the dining hall for the and four suite rooms on ground level for the disabled. As for the fire safety regulations, Kendall said there is no problem.
“It meets code specification in relation to the fire systems that were required at the time of that building being constructed,” Kendall said. “Any time we have a building that we operate it is in code compliance.”
The renovation of the Lincoln Quads included the redesign of the building’s fire system and several of its suites. Students living in the new suites will be asked to give feedback in a focus group, Kendall said.
“This summer they took a look at three suites down at Lincoln Quad and are going to remodel them, taking them from five person down to three person suites, installing new fire systems, renovating the bathrooms and also the living room areas,” Kendall said.
Another $10 million renovation project on Erickson Hall is expected to be complete by June 2013.
The renovation will return the hall, built in 1960, to its original purpose of housing students. When construction is complete in 2013, the hall will add 260 beds contained in double occupancy rooms with a lounge/study space on each floor.
Renovation of Erickson forced the university to find a new home for the Communication Department on the second floor in Gillum Hall while the Welcome Center’s new home is in the is in the former Family and Consumer Sciences building.
The third significant project for ISU Residential Life involves the construction of a new $24 million residence hall that will be completed in April 2014 and house students that fall. Kendall said the date was set to ensure adequate time for completion of the building.
It has been more than 40 years since Indiana State built a residence hall from the ground up. The university expects to break ground for the new construction later this fall in the once faculty and staff parking lot to the south of the Lincoln Quads.
The new hall is expected to add 345 beds.
Kendall said he’s eager for work on residence halls to be completed because of how it will enhance students’ college experience. By renovating the halls to match similar conditions students have at home, they are more encouraged to come and stay at the university, Kendall said.
In addition, the renovations give the university the potential ability to provide more group and theme housing on campus.
“Nationally, research indicates that students that live with or stay in close proximity to other students that have the same major, that have same interest within the same organization that it helps their transition to college life,” Kendall said. “And as we all know ... if a student transitions successfully that helps their academic success as well.”
Kendall added that the renovations and construction is to provide students with a sense of security.
“One of the things that we are doing with our housing program is renovating, adding air condition, adding sprinkler systems and these are just life safety issue, fire safety suppression,” Kendall said. “Want to ensure that our students are provided a safe place to live.”