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July 24, 2003

Residence Halls at ULM Get Make Over This Summer

There are numerous changes taking place at residence halls at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Features that will enhance the look, safety, comfort, and community of campus living are either already in place or will be soon.

One change is coming in the form of resident halls becoming theme halls focusing on a certain groups of students. Slater will be the "Learning Community" dormitory" with the north end designated for students studying in the College of Health Sciences or the College of Arts and Sciences. The south end is designated for students studying in the College of Business Administration or the College of Education and Human Development, however any student may reside in this hall regardless of major.

ULM President James Cofer is excited to see ULM becoming a more cohesive university. He says, "The idea of having a ÅeLearning CommunityÅf" residence hall is great because it gives students more of a chance to interact with others in their field. We have seen this done at other universities and thought it would be great to try it here. We hope students take advantage of this learning environment."

Hudson Hall will become an academic year hall. This means that students who donÅft go home over the holidays can stay in their room all year. Monroe is designated for students enrolled in the ULM Honors Program. Cosper Hall is the Greek dorm. Ouachita Hall and Lemert Hall are the female dorms and Sherrouse is the male dorm. Masur will be a private room only resident hall while Harris will be used only when others have reached their capacity. Madison Hall will be used exclusively for guests, camps, and workshop participants.

Halls with interior corridors (Slater, Ouachita, Monroe, Lemert, Harris, Breard, and Cosper) will have proximity readers or keyless entry installed. This will allow only those holding a proximity key entry to the buildings. The proximity readers are in the beginning stages, but it is a possibility that Slater Hall will be operational with the new proximity readers early in the fall semester.

When the proximity readers are installed, they will be the only way into the lobby of those halls. New phones to be installed in the interior corridor of the halls will be a way for visitors to call a resident to personally let them into the hall.

Camile Currier, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Interim Housing Director, says this is great way for students living in the halls to screen visitors and to give them a chance to either escort someone or deny someone permission to their room.

Currier says, "A guest will have to call the room of the person they are visiting if they want to be let inside. Then the student living in the room will be the one making the decision all from the safety of their telephone."

The visitor phones located outside lobby entrances will also be equipped with an emergency button that will connect with University Police. It is to be used only in the case of an emergency.

Some other improvements to the resident halls include:

-Individual air units have been installed for better cooling (in addition to its existing central air) on the north side of Cosper hall.
-Hudson Hall has received new exterior doors that have been painted and installed. New double-headed light fixtures have been added to the north side parking lot poles.
-Lemert Hall has received new lighting fixtures in every bathroom.
-Ouachita Hall exterior wall panels have been repainted.
-Sherrouse Hall exterior rails have been painted.
-Slater Hall will have eight additional sitting areas located on the second and third floors for late night studying.
-In addition to keyless entry at inside corridor halls, additional readers will be placed at high traffic areas to accommodate side and rear parking at the residence halls.
-An intense schedule for programming is in place at the residence halls for the fall semester.

Security additions such as proximity locks, phones with a panic button outside hall lobbies and more parking lot lighting are being worked on throughout the summer.

"Emphasis is being placed on bringing the residence halls up to a standard in which we can all be happy. These residence halls at ULM are in as good of shape as any across the state," says Dr. Nick Bruno, Vice President for Business Affairs.

"We're doing painting in a lot of them, ventilation work, and pressure-washing. We're painting exteriors, acquiring new beds, and putting in new security systems. We are doing what we can to make these halls look and feel as good as possible for our students."

Efforts are also being made to accommodate ULM's taller students. Seven-foot long mattresses are being installed into hall rooms and will be available to those students who might not fit in the regular 6 foot-long beds.

As for the future of ULM's resident facilities, officials are preparing RFP's (request for proposals) that will ask private developers to come in and assess ULM's current facilities. Bruno says, "We are asking developers to come on campus and tell us what the best plan is for our future. This includes the possibility of constructing new residence halls and new on-campus apartments for students. On-campus apartments are the latest development in university housing. Several universities across the state and nation are making significant renovations to existing buildings for their students to live in. This is a step towards allowing students to progress to different housing arrangements as they move along in their academic careers. Students, as freshmen, come in and need one particular aspect of residential life, and as they become juniors/seniors they need a little more independent or transitional collegiate housing before they move out into the real world. There are several options available to ULM and you could be seeing some big changes in our housing over the next year or so."

Bruno says plans are to demolish Nicholson Hall this summer and have a parking lot in place by the fall. Plans for an Intermodal Transit Parking facility or parking garage to be built in that area in the future are also being examined.

Coenen Cafeteria is also undergoing a change. It is currently being renovated to house Delta Community College. The Community College is renting it from ULM until they have their own facility. Once Delta Community College finishes their own facility, ULM will use Coenen Cafeteria for offices or classrooms.

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