The new residence hall at Northern Illinois University comes with a construction price tag of $80 million. And from the looks of Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, it looks as if the school spent every penny of it.Other improvements to the residence halls are coming, including the conversion of Gilbert Hall, hard by the art and music complex, back to a dorm.
Unlike most of the dorm rooms on campus, the new hall consists of all single bedrooms. Each student shares a bathroom suite with another, and 12 of these single bedrooms would share a common space – or a “cluster” as NIU’s housing officials call it – that contains a study area, a small kitchen, and a flat screen, 55-inch TV.
Complex coordinator Connie Storey said the decision to make all of the new hall’s 1,008 rooms single bedrooms was a deliberate one.
“Everybody is always requesting single rooms and private bathrooms,” Storey said. “I think it’s more – for a lot of this generation, a lot of them didn’t have to share rooms and so a lot of people are very apprehensive about sharing rooms – keeping up with the times and what the students want.”
The still-unnamed hall is separated into a west and east hall. In the center hall, the residents can lay around in the new wireless lounge, complete with a fireplace.
Next to the wireless lounge is the recreation facility, stocked with new, Cybex-brand exercise machines. Residents will have exclusive access to this facility, although Storey mentioned that this restriction could be relaxed in the future. The new food court, however, will be open to all students.
It’s not cheap living in the new hall. With the cheapest meal plan, a student pays $6,482 a semester.
Whether there will be a faculty of sufficient size to serve the additional students headquarters expects to attract to these facilities remains to be seen. The requests to be added to closed classes have already begun.