By Contributing Writer Catalina McLucas
The campus of UMass Dartmouth is changing at a pace like never before. The newest project on campus is the building of the new $134 million freshman dorms, built in only one year and replacing those that have been standing for over 40 years.
The 267,500-foot dorm consists of 1,210 beds, academic classrooms, maker spaces, study lounges, and recreation spaces. The construction is on track to finished by the fall 2020. Located on the inside of Ring Road, the new dorms will allow the new students to live to the academic buildings.
UMass partnered with Greystar, one of the largest and most experienced collegiate housing developers and managers in the country, to fund the project. According to a press release from the university, the partnership allows the building of the new housing without taxpayer funds and without adding to the university’s debt burden.
“The facility will be managed by Greystar while Housing & Residential Education will function as they typically would when it comes to housing assignments, student conduct, and staffing RDs/RAs,” said Stephanie Alliette, Manager of Housing Partner Operations. “Students will share the same “customer service experience” as with any other housing on campus, which is the ultimate goal.”
Admissions counselor, Josh Sylvester, “I do see the project being extremely beneficial to enrollment. Kids make their decision about a school based off a lot of factors, but housing is very important to incoming freshman. For most, it is their first time no longer living at home. With this in mind, we want potential students to see our housing as their home away from home. We also want their parents to feel the same way.”
Victoria Bissett, a freshman comments, “I think that having brand new freshman dorms will improve issues like access to dining and study spaces. It will make getting to those resources much easier and quicker. These dorms are also appealing for prospective students to make their decision to come here because a lot of programs can have the same accreditations, but you won’t find brand new dorms everywhere.”, says Bissett.
Although the new freshman cannot see the new housing in person, UMass has put up a virtual tour online to give an idea of what living there would look like. A live feed of the construction has also been put up online so potential students can even watch their own rooms being built.