New North Hall a hit with Lakelands students
Student Life - posted on 1/5/2006
When asked what they did in the spacious commons area between their two pods in the new North Hall, Marie Reynolds had a surprising answer.
"We make forts," Reynolds said with a laugh.
"Out of the furniture," the sophomore fitness studies major said. "It's fun!"
While Lakeland probably didn't have forts in mind when planning the construction of the college's ninth residence hall, Lakeland did deliver a home away from home that balances the unique needs of today's students with traditional campus life.
North Hall is divided into pods that house eight students - three double rooms and two singles. Each pod includes two bathrooms, and two pods together share a commons area completely furnished by the college (including a 36-inch color television), a kitchen area and a study area.
"We have more students who like that privacy, probably because they had more of it at home," said Sandy Gibbons-Vollbrecht, Lakeland's vice president for student affairs and dean of students. "They did not have to share a bedroom. They did not have to share a bathroom. But we still want them to be involved and interact socially.
"I think what's so unique is there is more single space and privacy, but it also allows for interaction with the other people in the building."
Reynolds, who hails from North Fond du Lac, lives in pod 34, next to her friends Alli Weiss and Valerie Barlett in pod 33. The girls of pods 33 and 34 were, for the most part, all friends before they moved in together, several of them teammates on Lakeland's women's soccer and softball teams.
Last year, many of these girls lived in Arthur Krueger Hall, Lakeland's all-female hall, and they're digging the unique features in their new home away from home.
"We went from two bathrooms per floor (in Krueger) to two per pod," said Barlett, a senior criminal justice major from Galesburg, Ill. "You don't have to share it with too many people, and it is so much easier to keep it clean."
The students in North Hall also enjoy the ability to entertain their friends. On Monday nights, you'll find "Laguna Beach Night" in the commons area between pods 33 and 34 as students come together to watch the popular MTV reality show.
"Krueger had this little lobby that you really couldn't bring people into," Barlett said. "Groups of people can come over here and hang out. We have our own kitchen, which is nice. We make dinner out here and have pod dinners."
"It's like living in a smaller apartment, but it's new," said Weiss, a junior fitness studies major from New Berlin. "The study rooms are nice because you can go in and close the door. The computer lab on the second floor is really nice. We met some guys over there we would not have met in Krueger. In Krueger, we would stay in our rooms, but here we're hanging out and meeting people."
The students understand and appreciate those moments that North Hall provides for alone time.
"My parents love it," Weiss said. "They tried to push me into this more than the apartments. The apartments tend to be a little louder, and there was no place where I could escape."
The addition of North Hall has given Lakeland the ability to house students based on natural progression of their social development, said Jim Bajczyk, the college's director of residence life.
"During your freshman year, you're running into a lot of people on a daily basis on your own floor, making new friendships, new relationships," Bajczyk said. "As you get older, your group of significant friends gets smaller. Our housing is built for our students to down size to the pod and then to the apartments as they get older."
The students noted that while the usual roommate issues - the same you would find in any residence hall at any college in the nation - still exist, North Hall's physical setup lends itself to getting to know and live with peers quicker.
"Everybody knows each other here," Barlett said. "We have a family here."
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