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- Man out on bond for alleged molestation of boys charged with abusing girl (4/18/17)
- Pilot House goes smoke-free (4/23/17)9
- New policy for semissourian.com online commentary: No pseudonyms (4/17/17)57
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- Going the distance: Several locals participate in Boston Marathon (4/18/17)2
- City wants to put hold on shipping container houses for now (4/17/17)1
- Deputy: Man kicked, broke uncle's ribs after yard-work dispute (4/19/17)
- Cape councilman Bob Fox to run for mayor (4/21/17)5
- Scott County: M Kay Supply in Benton fills unique needs in community (4/14/17)
College dorms going upscale
GWYNEDD VALLEY, Pa. -- The residence hall at Gwynedd-Mercy College is so new it doesn't yet have a name.
What it does have wouldn't pass for the old definition of "college dorm": suites with air conditioning, Internet access, a full kitchen and a semi-private bathrooms shared by only four students.
Gwynedd-Mercy, a small Roman Catholic college in suburban Philadelphia, is part of a nationwide campus building boom that has seen traditional dorms replaced with upscale residence halls.
Wired and roomy
These new buildings are typically wired for high-speed Internet and cable, sometimes come with refrigerators, freezers and microwaves, and are arranged suite-style, with two rooms grouped together with semi-private bathrooms. Colleges are also building apartment houses on campus, with living rooms, private bedrooms and full kitchens.
Traditional dorms -- those cramped, noisy places where privacy is nonexistent -- are out. Colleges simply aren't building them anymore.
"Most students growing up don't share a room anymore,"said Joan Schmidt, president of the Association of College and University Housing Officers International. "I think it's a shock to their systems, because they're not used to sharing."
According to a February survey by College Planning & Management magazine, 96 percent of new dorms have Internet and cable access, 90 percent are air-conditioned and 71 percent feature a kitchen and recreation rooms.
They're also more secure: 67 percent have card-access systems and nearly a quarter use video surveillance. Average cost to build: $6.2 million.
"They are being designed now to meet today's students' needs. That includes privacy and yet the need to see and be seen -- large open gathering spaces where you can walk through on the way to class and say hello to a couple of friends," said Ellen Kollie, editor of College Planning & Management.
Oklahoma State University has opened seven apartment buildings and four "deluxe suite" buildings in the last two years as part of a $78 million residence hall expansion. None even remotely resembles a 1960s-era dorm.