The Northerner | University accommodation changes for the fall semester and beyond

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Several changes to housing on the Northern Kentucky University campus have taken place this fall semester and are expected to continue next year. Along with a new dormitory which opened on August 19, the existing dormitories are being renovated and new additions have been made to the university accommodation staff.

The new university residence is located in the residential village of Boothe, opposite Norse Hall. It has five floors and 297 beds in a suite style similar to university suites, with each room containing two bedrooms, a shared shower and a shared toilet. The capacity of each suite is four students.

According to Elizabeth Birkenhauer, associate director for planning, design and construction, the first floor includes a fully open common area with a study room, living room and two kitchenettes. Each floor above the first has a desk and a seating area. There is also a yard and charging stations for electric vehicles outside the building.

Floors one through three were open for student access in August at the start of the semester, while floors four and five will be completed in September, Birkenhauer said.

The New Residence Hall was slated for early 2017 and construction began in April 2020, according to a section on the University Housing website with information about the new building. This is the first new housing construction for the university in 17 years since University Suites was completed in 2003.

Aside from the construction of the new residence, renovations to Norse Hall were carried out throughout the summer. According to Dr. Eddie Howard, vice-president of student affairs, these renovations include repainting the walls, replacing the doors and door frames and raising the facades.

“We got to half of the apartments and they should be finished this summer,” Howard said. “We’re going to take the building offline again and bring it to a consistent standard across campus. “

In a campus-wide email on June 29, Howard announced that Callahan Hall will be offline for the 2021-2022 school year to enable a $ 3 million infrastructure improvement project. Scheduled to reopen for the fall semester of 2022, the building is to be fitted with new pipelines and security cameras for added security.

Housing hopes that Callahan Hall will be completely renovated during the summer. Due to lack of sufficient material, they decided to close it for this fall and potentially a whole year.

Obtaining building materials such as steel has been a challenge during the pandemic. “At one point, we thought that the inability to obtain materials would prevent us from delivering the project. [New Residence Hall] on time, ”Howard said.

According to information in the email, students assigned to Callahan Hall have been reassigned to Northern Terrace or other buildings in the residential village of Boothe. Students residing at Northern Terrace will continue to have dining options at the Callahan Bistro.

Other campus facilities will be subject to ongoing upgrading and maintenance. Major areas will be repaired first, followed by a regular program or routine of carpet, patching, etc.

“The goal is not to allow facilities to operate year after year without at least one building maintenance being performed each summer,” Howard said. “We’ve done this in the past, but we’ve taken a haphazard approach. We are now taking a more persistent approach.

Some of NKU’s more recent projects have been done behind the scenes, said Arnie Slaughter, assistant vice president for student affairs. These include new staff additions to University Housing and Residence Living and a new staff structure.

According to Slaughter, a new director for university accommodation has been selected and the residence life coordinators will be in charge of the dormitory buildings, rather than ward directors as before. They will help students who may have questions or need assistance and will increase the overall residential experience.

In early August, NKU began to demand indoor masking for everyone on campus, both unvaccinated and vaccinated.

“Fortunately, as of now, that may change under the regulations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We will still be able to accommodate students with no occupancy restrictions, ”Slaughter said. “The new director of housing will be involved in making informed decisions based on CDC regulations, the university’s mandate and the state’s mandate.”

As the Delta coronavirus variant drives the number of cases in Kentucky to the red zone, NKU has recently grown COVID-19 decision indicators, which are color coded to show levels of community transmission. Stricter pandemic measures such as social distancing and limited occupancy could be taken based on current indicators.

“What I’m hoping for is to stay in a situation where we can do face-to-face education until the term ends,” Howard said. “We hope that our cases remain low, our isolation and quarantine will remain at zero, that people will mask themselves and remain socially distant. “


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