A few years ago, William Paterson’s Office of Residence Life decided the university’s dorms were in need of an upgrade.
Enter: Skyline Hall, the university’s newest building. The eco-conscious residence hall opened this fall semester, but the university started working on it over three years ago, according to Interim Director of Residence Life Rebecca Baird. Following last year’s mold problem and ongoing issues of faulty electricity and laundry machines in some dorms, it seemed to be about time for a change.
Baird spoke with the Beacon about the planning of Skyline Hall and what this new installment to William Paterson’s advancement means for current and prospective students.
“We tried to grab feedback from students along the way,” she said. “Students expressed the desire to have the kitchen, and it was very important to have space outside of their room to have quiet study.”
Skyline Hall has modern kitchens, both quiet and group study rooms, and lounges. All this came to be due in part to students’ input.
Last semester, faculty members from residence life placed furniture they wanted to use in Skyline Hall outside of Wayne Dining Hall to get students’ opinion on it. The furniture got positive reactions.
The university has been struggling to meet its enrollment goals and retention rates for the past few years, so Skyline’s unique features is one of their attempts to resolve this issue. Along with a desire for modern facilities, the university found that students are drawn to large lounges for socializing.
High Mountain East and West have pods for socializing. But for Skyline’s second floor, Residence Life wanted to bring something new to students’ socializing experience. They decided to build lounges.
“We wanted a space that would give us a lot of options and partner with more organizations to draw more students in to see the residence halls,” Baird said.
This is especially important because the school is trying to get more students to live on campus.
Another big advancement was the updated laundry rooms. Along with the modern residence hall, residents now have laundry machines that sync to a mobile application which alerts students when their laundry is ready.
The construction of Skyline isn’t necessarily complete yet. Baird said she wants to hear more ideas from students on what to add to the building.
Behind Skyline’s construction, like all residence hall construction projects, is a large team.
Baird said that the beginning of the process is handled by capitol planning, administration and business, and student development. There was a desire among these departments to upgrade and redo old buildings around the back of campus.
Baird said Kevin Garvey, Vice President of Capitol Planning, was a big help in this project.
One issue in Skyline came up a few days after the building’s official opening. On move in day, the shower drains were not even with the floor; when students showered, water leaked into the bathroom. However, maintenance fixed the issue very quickly.
“When you take on a project of this magnitude, there will be hiccups,” Baird said of the situation.
She also said there were tight timelines on the building.