The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



SMC dorms to be modernized

Katie Kohler | Friday, February 24, 2006

The notably spacious residence hall rooms Saint Mary’s students have enjoyed for years may become even more appealing in the near future.

Saint Mary’s Vice President for Finance and Administration Laurie Stickelmaier recently attended a conference in Chicago entitled “The 21st Century Project – The Residence Hall of the Future,” where she learned ways to improve the conditions of campus residences.

“The main conclusion we came to as a result of intensive team discussions was that residence hall structures will not change that much – it’s the environment within and around the structures that will be different,” Stickelmaier said.

“We anticipate more of a community-based setting with groups of residences set around common social, eating and retail areas.”

Stickelmaier said the building itself is not the only focus of the new halls.

“Recycling, effective waste disposal and even internal gardening areas will also be integrated into residential planning,” she said.

Technology that is pervasive and virtually invisible is another planning element that received a great deal of attention at the conference.”

Residence Hall director Michelle Russell said Stickelmaier’s attendance at this conference does not indicate Saint Mary’s will be building a new residence hall in the near future.

“At this time, the College is focused on the new academic building and continuing the renovation of our current halls,” she said.

Students are excited about the new academic construction as well.

“The new classroom building is supposed to be more technologically advanced that what we have now,” said freshman Katie McInerney.

Freshman Beth D’Aurora said she liked the idea of the new buildings, as long as Saint Mary’s keeps the architecture historic-looking to “preserve the historical aspect of our campus.”

Despite the fact the College is not currently anticipating the construction of a new residence hall, Stickelmaier said during the next few years Saint Mary’s plans to renovate and remodel existing residence halls one-by-one.

“Meanwhile, we continue our ongoing replacement of carpets and furniture as needed,” she said.

She also said a new residence hall is not a priority because the College has enough space to comfortably house all students.

“We currently have enough beds to accommodate our student population,” Stickelmai-er said. “When enrollment increases to the point where we need more rooms on campus, we will use the information gained from the 21st Century Project.”