Residence hall ready for Baker students
After almost nine months of construction, the new Baker University residence hall, the Living and Learning Center, is complete.
Baker received the keys to the hall on Aug. 1, right on schedule. There's just one thing missing - the students.
With the fall semester about to commence at Baker, students will soon be able to move into the hall. Student-athletes will move into the hall on Friday, freshmen will move in Aug. 23 and returning students will move in Aug. 24.
Gary Walbridge, director of the physical plant for Baker, said he was excited about the building being done and students moving in soon. Walbridge received a tour of the building soon after it had been completed and said he was happy with the way the hall turned out.
"It looks like a brand-new building," Walbridge said. "It's pretty nice."
An ice cream social and open house from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 21 will help commemorate the opening of the new hall. All community members are invited to attend and take a look at the facility.
The new residence hall has a U-shape and is located at Dearborn and Seventh streets, north of Harter Union. At 52,000 square feet, the new residence hall is the largest on campus, with three stories.
It will house 190 students in 48 rooms. There will also be five additional rooms for residential assistants and other personnel. A communal kitchen is located on the first floor.
Rooms in the residence hall fall under three different floor plans. All of the rooms have their own bathrooms and two of the three floor plans include a shared living space for residents. Students living in the facility get their room assignments through a lottery system that favors older residents.
Walbridge said the new hall would be a good place for students to live.
"They're going to love it," Walbridge said. "The room's are bigger, the hallways are better, it's got a nice set up, and it's conveniently close to the union."
Walbridge said that in addition to attracting students to Baker, the resident hall's proximity to the union could improve food sales at the union.
"There's a community kitchen in the new hall, but in my experience students don't always use it all that much," Walbridge said. "They'd rather get something quick to eat or head over to the union."
The residence hall is different from others in that it has classrooms inside it, a setup that Baker officials hope will integrate academics with student living. There are two classrooms in the hall.
Ruth Miller, associate registrar for Baker, said the hall would host a variety of classes covering subjects such as sociology, mass media, math, health and art history. A number of seminars for freshmen will also take place in the hall. However, the subjects taught in the hall will change from semester to semester.
In addition to classes, student groups can also use the rooms as a place to hold meetings.
Construction for the $6.3 million hall began in the second week of November. Maxim Construction, based out of Bucyrus, led the construction, while Overland Park-based architects Hollis and Miller designed the building. Student Suites, a company specializing in on-campus living based out of Blue Springs, Mo., served as the developers for the construction.