Student Voice


June 12, 2024

Residence Life to alter, modify on-campus experience for students

February 18, 2010

The incoming freshman class and returning residence hall inhabitants will be greeted this coming fall with changes and additions within the halls. 

A major change regarding the residence halls is that the all-female dorm, Parker Hall, will be moved to Prucha Hall. The reason for the switch is because there is only a small amount of female students who actually request to live in an all-female dorm, according to Julie Phelps, the assistant director of facilities and administrative services.

According to Phelps, this change will create more co-ed space in Parker Hall while still having an all-female dorm option available.

There will be two learning communities available in the residence halls. One of the communities, called the “Connections” Learning Community, will be located on the third floor of Hathorn Hall. This community is for first-year students and will have the students taking classes with their floor members, according to the Housing Preference Choices flyer.

The students can expect to interact closely with UWRF faculty, staff and students to develop lasting relationships that will shape their undergraduate experience, according to the flyer.

The second learning community will be located in May Hall. This community, called the iRock Living Learning Community, will focus on the concepts of personal wellness, connection to the environment and social justice, according to the Housing Preference Choices flyer.

The students involved in this community will take two to three courses each semester that incorporate the concepts through team learning, experiential programming, service learning and regular positive interaction with students and staff. According to Phelps, this community was formulated by the First-Year Experience (F.Y.E.) staff and faculty. This community will be co-ed and available for 44 first year students.

An even bigger addition to the UWRF campus is currently underway. The South Fork Suites addition has reached the 10 percent design phase and will hopefully reach the 35 percent design phase by June 2010, according to Sandi Scott-Duex, the director of Residence Life.

The design phases have to be approved by the Wisconsin Division of State Facilities and the UW System. This addition will cost approximately $20 million, which includes additional parking spaces and landscaping.

The building will house 240 sophomore students. According to Scott-Duex, a hired consultant came in and discovered a gap between first year and upper classmen housing opportunities. This building will provide more privacy for sophomore students but will still have a community feel to it due to its cluster design, according to Scott-Duex. The design involves clusters of 20 students with a combination of single and double rooms. There is a shared living space and a kitchenette on each floor.

Another fun feature of the new addition is that it will connect to the current South Fork Suites building with a living learning center. The center will include multipurpose rooms for programs, group studying and seminars, according to Scott-Duex. “The lobby will have a lot of glass looking out towards the prairie grasses and will hopefully have a fireplace” said Scott-Duex. The building will also be equipped with wireless internet.

UWRF is using the architecture services of SDS Architects and Elness Swenson Graham Architects (ESG) for this project. These two separate firms have joined together to design this project, according to Scott-Duex. Combined, these two companies have 97 years of experience in architecture.

Both firms stress the importance of creating economically and environmentally friendly structures. On the ESG Architects website they have “Green Guidelines” that include: promoting site selection that contributes to healthier livable communities, designing for flexibility and future adaptability in building use, preserving the natural environment, promoting energy efficiency, reducing the environmental footprint, reducing water use and promoting green materials.

It is UWRF’s intent to seek LEED Silver Certification with this building, according to Scott-Duex. This certification will be attained through the U.S. Green Building Council, a national standard for green design, construction, and operation, according to the SDS Architects Web site. The addition will be built with sustainable materials and will handle the waste produced during the construction in a green
manner. According to Scott-Duex the silver certification level is higher then the state of Wisconsin requires.

There are currently two students on the design committee for this project, according to Scott-Duex. There will be more opportunities along the way for students to voice their opinions on the design. The drawings for the building will be on display on poster boards in the University Center after spring break. This project is slated to open in 2012.