“I think it’s huge,” said Paula Bland, the director of residence life. “I think students who live in the building and are engaged in these programs are going to be on the cutting edge of new technology.”
Becca Stephens, a 20-year-old junior and president of the Residence Hall Association said overall the association is “incredibly excited” about the new dorm.
“The building itself is absolutely phenomenal,” Stephens said. “It’s such a unique design and it’s the first one that CU has built in about 30 years so that’s fantastic. The things they’re doing for sustainability is going to draw in a lot of people who are interested in that sort of thing I think.”
North Hall is being built as CU’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum sustainability building, and the largest building of its kind in the nation.
Megan Rose, the communications specialist of planning, design and construction, said that Western Oregon University’s Ackerman Hall was the first platinum-certified residence facility.
“We were trying to be the first, but it’s a booming industry,” Rose said. “But it is the biggest of its size and our first platinum building on campus.”
Rose said some of the upcoming features of North Hall will be solar panels, automatic lights, low-flush devices and five classrooms allowing for teleconferences. Construction of the building is using all recycled materials and low-volatile organic compound materials.
Monitoring devices of the building’s various outputs will also be available to students.
“The building will have some monitoring of energy so students will be able to see on a day-to-day and hour-to-hour basis how much energy is being used,” Bland said. “They’ll be able to, in their lifestyle, choose to try to do things to reduce energy being used. It’s kind of like an ongoing energy conservation program.“
Some students said they think the dorm, with all of it’s amenities, sounds like an interesting place to live.
Candace Brown, a 21-year-old junior English major who lived in Baker Hall her freshman year, said she would have wanted to live in North Hall because of the monitoring devices.
“I still don’t feel like I used that much energy, but it would have been cool to see,” Brown said.
The building will house two new Residential Academic Programs in addition to its 500 beds. One program being offered by the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences is “Sustainable by Design.” The other program, “Social Entrepreneurship for Equitable Development and Sustainability,” will be part of the College of Arts and Sciences, Bland said.
“Not only will there be classrooms in the building and faculty offices that will support the residential academic programs, but the building itself will be a teaching tool,” Bland said. “There are engineering systems built into the building that the students will be able to study.”
Rose said the building will cost $46.5 million.
“It’s auxiliary funded,” she said. “Housing and dining is technically their own entity. They have their own finances. [It’s] the 500 new beds, room and board, that over time will pay it.”
Students should not worry about the higher housing costs, Rose said.
“There won’t be a significant increase in room and board directly because of this,” she said.
The new dorm could bring more interest to the Will Vill part of campus.
“It’s going to give a lot of positive energy to the Will Vill community out there,” Stephens said. “People are taking a second look at the Recreation Center out there, at the dining hall, thinking ‘what can we do to improve this community?’”
Bland said she believes the students living in the dorm will experience learning in a whole new way.
“I think the people who have an opportunity to go through the programs, who live in the building, who have this concentrated focus, who will really be the people that will go out in our society and create change,” Bland said. “They will be the people who come up with the newest innovations.“
Part of the goal, Bland and Rose said, is for at least 20 percent of residents to be upperclassmen.
Although Bland admits it might be hard to get older students into North Hall, their impact could be great.
“We would love to have more upperclassmen in the building because people at different levels of academic study really enhance that community,” Bland said.
Stephens, who is an upperclassman, said she would consider living in North Hall.
“I’m an English and theater major so a lot of that science stuff goes over my head, but the other RAP program is cool,” Stephens said. “It will be very interesting to see how it turns out. I think as far as the community that will be built there, I’d love to be a part of that.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Emily Zarka at Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org.