New building, new trend
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Approximately 120 students will get the chance to be part of a new trend at Fort Hays State University this school year when they move into Tiger Place, a suite-style residence hall completed this summer.
Each furnished suite features four bedrooms -- complete with a bed, dresser, night stand, desk and chair -- as well as two bathrooms, a living room with a couch and chair, and a small kitchenette with a sink, small refrigerator, microwave and cupboards. The living room/kitchenette area each will be furnished with a couch, side chair, and table and chair set.
Also new to the building will be a recent college graduate, Katelyn Korbitz, manager of the 123-bed, two-story building who comes to FHSU from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
"There's a desire (across the country) to keep more students (living) on campus," said Dana Cunningham, director of facilities planning at FHSU. "It makes for a more vibrant campus life."
Korbitz tried both options of living on and off campus during her career at Northern Iowa, and she said on campus was her favorite.
"There's something about the experience of being so close with so many people to know everyone and feeling supportive," she said. "When I moved off campus, it definitely was an adjustment. In a (residence hall), you know there's someone around to talk to.
"It will be interesting to live in a brand new building. It is really going to be a unique living area."
Construction on a similar unit, with 112 beds, will begin almost immediately upon completion of the first phase.
Students in Tiger Place will be on the meal plan but also will have access to a full kitchen on the first floor for use when the cafeteria in McMindes Hall is closed.
Two of the rooms are handicapped accessible, and every room is made adaptable with a 5-foot turning radius, said contractor Steve Paul of Paul-Wertenberger Construction Co., Hays.
Paul-Wertenberger also built Stadium Place, an apartment complex on campus near Lewis Field Stadium. But "this is the first time we've built one of this kind," Paul said. "It's been interesting, different than the (traditional residence hall)."