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KSU's University Village Suites Receives Great Response From Students


(Source: Farnsworth, Elizabeth, "'It's Great!' New Dorm Puts Students in Lap of Luxury," Marietta Daily Journal, August 14, 2008, PP. 1A and 5A)

Taking a break from moving into her freshman dorm at Kennesaw State University, Courtney Hering said she was surprised at how nice her living quarters are.

“I have my own bedroom and I get to share a bathroom with my other person,” the 17-year-old Suwanee girl said Tuesday afternoon as she hung out with friends outside the dorms. “I can’t wait to get up there and rip everything open and start unpacking.”

Bob Frisbee of Woodstock was impressed.

"It's great - are you kidding?" he said as he waited in a check-in line with wife, Pam, and 22-year-old daughter, Amanda, to move in his 18-year-old son, Evan.

"It's new, so there's nothing really to worry about," Evan Frisbee said.

Hering and Frisbee are only two among the nearly 1,000 freshmen moving into the just-finished University Village Suites at KSU this week before classes begin Friday. The new, four-story building has space for 913 beds in its two wings.

This year, 3,044 students will be able to live on-campus - a nearly 43 percent increase from last school year, when the school had only 2,131 beds.

Dr. Michael Sanseviro, director of residence life at KSU, said living on-campus is part of the traditional college experience. KSU, the third-largest university in the state, is no longer a commuter school, Sanseviro said.

Here's how KSU stacks up against the rest of the field: About 2,500 students live on-campus at Georgia State, the second-largest state school, Sanseviro said. And the University of Georgia - with enrollment roughly double the 21,000 students at KSU - also has about double KSU's on-campus population, with 6,400 students living on UGA campus.

"Percentage-wise, we're not that far off," Sanseviro said.

Most of the living areas in the new dorm building, which cost just over $45 million, are two-bedroom suites, sex-segregated by units but not by floor.

Freshmen will share a kitchenette and bathroom area, but have their own small bedrooms. But the design intentionally deletes a common living area.

"We started the village concept in 2002 with full apartments. Part of the big challenge was that freshmen had so much privacy they never came out of their rooms," he said.

The University Village Suites doesn't feel much like the dorms we remember.

There's a Jittery Joe's coffee shop in the lobby. Flat-screen TVs hang on the walls of game rooms and lounges throughout the building, and the four-story dorm and the green areas outdoors are wi-fi capable. Each floor has a laundry room, and the machines take cash cards. Eventually, school officials hope students will be able to check machine availability and the status of their laundry via the Internet.

Students pay $510 per month to live in the new hotel - er, dorm, a fee that does not include food.

Bob Mills, managing partner of the Atlanta office of University Housing Services, the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based developer that built the dorm, pointed out the buildings "green" features, such as motion-sensor lighting; carpet made from recycled materials, high-efficiency toilets, and irrigation using only collected rainwater.

"The students are driving sustainability far more than the old folks," he said, chuckling.

Today, the school plans a grand opening of the central parking deck, which sits on campus near the new dorms. The garage adds 2,600 spaces, mostly for commuter students, faculty and staff members, school officials said.

For students, the key thing seemed to be the newness of the dorms.

"It looks good. It looks clean and new and shiny," said Horus Simmons, 17, of Decatur.

Hering, who'll be living with a friend she's known since fifth grade, knows where she'll spend her freshman year.

"I think I'll probably stay on campus as much as possible," she said. "Plus, this is where everything is."


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