Marquette Wire

Dorm rooms around the country go high-tech

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In 2006, Tufts University opened a $23 million "green dorm," which includes four single rooms in a suite, full kitchens and solar-powered hot water.,”Cramped, single-room dorms are a way of the past, as many universities build high-tech, suite-style dorms to accommodate students' needs.

In 2006, Tufts University in Boston opened a $23 million "green dorm," which includes four single rooms in a suite, full kitchens and solar-powered hot water.

"The board of trustees at Tufts recognized a need for more on-campus housing for upperclassmen," said Suzanne Miller, assistant director of public relations at Tufts. "The students love it. They really enjoy the green aspect of it."

College officials said they are building new dorms to provide more privacy for students and to bring students on campus.

Jonathan Levi Architects, an architectural firm based in Boston, won a design competition for a dorm 30 years from now.

"Universities have acknowledged that students today have different expectations of their living environments," said Kay Tanfield, director of Jonathan Levi Architects. "In the past, they were more readily accepting of sharing a bathroom and sharing space. Today, that is not the case."

Students today are used to the privacy they have in their family homes, said Alan Hargrave, director for housing and residence life at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. Ball State incorporated a sense of privacy in the new design through their furniture configuration.

Students at Ball State University call their new dorm "The Hilton," said Hargrave.

The new dorm is built for 506 students and has walk-in closets, tall ceilings and more privacy for students and a grand staircase design, Hargrave said.

"We could build new and get exactly what we wanted," Hargrave said. "We could really enhance the overall ascetic of campus."

Aaron Bova, associate director of housing services at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Penn., said he has noticed a demand for private, single rooms in his seven years there.

"Most incoming students want a roommate experience still, but most want singles by the time they're sophomores," Bova said.

Bova said the college built six dorms last year to bring students back on campus. He said living on campus is more cost effective for the university and resources are more accessible.

Tanfield said most universities recognize that students who live on campus perform better in school.

Jim McMahon, dean of residence life at Marquette, said he has noticed this relationship.

"They're more satisfied with their whole college experience, they feel a greater connection to the community and more readily identify with a faculty or staff member," McMahon said. "All of that translates to a higher grade point average."

McMahon said students who live on campus tend to graduate in four years versus those who live off-campus.

Marquette is in the process of upgrading facilities and looking at newly acquired buildings, McMahon said.

Rick Arcuri, associate dean for administrative services, said there is a housing committee to refine a plan for updating Marquette's residence halls.

"The main thing is that students would prefer suite living," Arcuri said

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