Students settle in at new UVI dorm
Published: August 31, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - After spending their first week of school either in a hotel or commuting from home, about 100 University of the Virgin Islands students are now settling in to the newest dormitory on the St. Thomas campus.
UVI spokeswoman Patrice Johnson said students moved into the 37,000-square-foot West Residence Hall last weekend.
When the new dorm was not going to be open for move-in day Aug. 12, the contractor picked up the tab for about 64 students to stay at the Emerald Beach Resort.
The new dorm is being billed as a state-of-the-art facility, with "spectacular views," a refrigerator in every room and data networking throughout - in addition to being UVI's first fully air-conditioned dorm, Johnson said.
Construction on the new dorm began in November. The four-story facility will house 96 students and four resident assistants.
"For several years the St. Thomas campus has had a waiting list for on-campus housing," UVI President David Hall said in a written statement. "Construction of the West Residence Hall is the University's answer to the St. Thomas campus housing shortage."
The building is energy-efficient, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant and will feature an identification card secure access system.
"We value our students and felt that by erecting this state-of-the-art facility where we did, the building's residents would be guaranteed a million-dollar view," Hall said.
The new dorm is in close proximity to the Paiewonsky Library, most classroom buildings and the campus dining pavilion.
Designed by local architect Jerryn McCray and GWWO of Baltimore, the West Residence Hall was constructed by GEC, LLC of St. Croix.
According to UVI officials, the building features a covered canopy design to provide shade and reduce heat absorption to conserve energy. The dorm uses an energy-heat exchanger that takes heat from the air conditioning system to heat water. The building also has solar water heaters, tinted windows, a generator, low-flow toilets and sinks, a seminar room, a laundry room, two common kitchens and four lounge areas.
Students also will pay more for those amenities. A regular double room costs $1,387 per student per semester compared with $2,250 for a double room in the new facility, according to Johnson and the UVI catalogue posted online. Single rooms cost $1,803 and $2,800, respectively, per student per semester.
UVI took a loan through the U.S. Education Department for Historically Black Colleges and Universities to fund the $10 million project.
The building is one of four facilities that are part of UVI's capital improvement project. Other planned facilities include a multi-purpose academic building at the UVI Research and Technology Park facility on St. Croix; a science building on St. Thomas; and a multi-purpose facility on St. Croix that could house large events and graduations.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the West Residence Hall is scheduled for Thursday.
- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.