U residence halls expand in effort to solve housing crunch

by Justin Ware

Lack of affordable housing is a nuisance for most University students. While all students will pay more this fall for their residence, a lucky few will see vast improvements to the place they call home.

Additions to both Middlebrook Hall on the West Bank and Frontier Hall in the Superblock have upgraded residence hall living.

The new suites consist of two two-person rooms connected by a bathroom.

Four people to one bathroom provides more privacy than the
public restrooms of most residence halls, said Jess Fritz, a freshman
living in Frontier Hall.

Middlebrook Hall

The Middlebrook project added 170 new beds, alleviating some of the overcrowded residence halls.

This year 150 students live in the Days Inn on University Avenue. About 450 students reside in expanded housing.

The addition’s construction began in fall 2000, and University employees are putting on the finishing touches this week.

“Suites come at a higher cost,” said Mary Anne Ryan, departmental director of housing and residential life. Students living in the suites will pay an extra $183 per semester.

Middlebrook construction cost $9 million, but the project was slightly under the original estimate, Ryan said. All students living in University housing help cover the new suites’ construction cost.

In addition to the suites, Middlebrook contains amenities such as expanded dining options and a television studio.

The Cyber Cafe, located next to the University dining center on the first floor, is a place for students to gather for group work and use computers with Internet access, Ryan said.

“It’s the place to be and be seen,” she said.

Beside the cafe is a convenience store where students can use meal plan dollars to purchase food when dining services are closed.

The University’s new cable services include a closed-circuit channel on which students can command programming from the studio.

Middlebrook, the main abode for honor students, was the most requested residence hall for 2001-02, Ryan said.

Frontier Hall

The University completed an $8.5 million addition to Frontier Hall this fall that included renovations to fire safety and the main entrance.

Frontier’s addition added 160 beds, and students living in the new suite-style apartments pay an additional $283 each semester.

Ben Brown, a College of Biological Sciences freshman, said the Frontier suites were his first of 10 choices.

“It wasn’t much more (money),” Brown said. “They’re four or five thousand (dollars per year) anyway, so what’s a couple of hundred more dollars?”

Fritz, also a biology student, said the suites’ benefits are well worth the extra money.

“We got a private bath, and the closet space is exceptionally good,” Fritz said.

Justin Ware welcomes comments at [email protected]