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August 15, 2006

ULM celebrates new residence halls

On Tuesday morning, over 175 people celebrated the grand opening of ULM's new University Commons residence halls, the culmination of over four years of diligent work.

"ULM is a rigorous institution with high standards," President James Cofer said. The university gives students the best opportunities to succeed both in the classroom and in their living spaces, he said.

Many of the JPI team members who developed and constructed the residence hall project, which was completed on time and under Budget, graduated from ULM's Construction Management Program, a note of pride for the university, Cofer said.

Calling Cofer a "visionary," Bill Wilson, a Regions Bank representative, also recognized ULM's construction program, along with ULM employees and JPI, a student housing and luxury apartment company.

In addition to ULM's campus renovation, Wilson remarked on its student body transformation, noting students' higher ACT scores.

Warren Burke, area vice president and development partner for JPI, and Scott McDonald, president of ULM Facilities, Inc., also expressed their appreciation for being involved in the residence hall project.

Following the program, the community members toured a few rooms in University Commons I and II, located on Northeast Drive.

Natalie Hearn, a freshman pharmacy student, lives in University Commons II.

Excited about her new living quarters, she said, "I was able to decorate it the way I wanted, and with my own room, I have privacy while still living with a roommate," she said.

The two new buildings, which replaced Monroe and Slater Halls, are already fully booked for the fall semester. On every floor of each building, students will enjoy a spacious commons room, an elevator, and laundry facilities.

Each residence unit provides private heating and air conditioning, high-speed Internet connections, separate phone lines, mirrored closets, ceiling fans, a sprinkler system, and smoke detectors. Residents will also need ID cards to enter the buildings.

The retail area located on the bottom of University Commons II (at the end where the university police station and post office once stood) will include a Starbucks, the bank, SACS office, and a convenience store. These areas will open this fall.

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