Tuesday, June 2, 2009

An inside peek at the new Sherley Hall

A couple of the magazine staffers got to tour the newly renovated Sherley residence hall today, and we came away very impressed.

First some background: The all-female dorm, built in 1958, was closed in May 2008 for a complete remodeling. It will open in August as an all-freshmen hall for men and women.

Sherley will be TCU's first (silver-level) LEED-certified facility on campus, making it a verifiably "green" structure. (Scharbauer Hall, which comes online in January 2010, will also be designated at that level, too.) Just inside the door of Sherley's marble-tiled entryway, residents and guests will be able to follow a touch-screen display about the building's energy efficiency, "green" construction and more.

The lobby resembles the one in Clark Hall, although it is slightly larger. It will feature a large flat-screen television and soft seating. The entry also includes a front desk for on-duty resident assistants and the hall director.

Men and women residents will be divided by wings over three floors with a common area in between each on every floor. Each wing shares a common bathroom, which appear to be nicer (and provide more privacy) than what many of us have at home. The bathrooms include nine separate mini-rooms, each equipped with a commode and shower stall. Thieves and pranksters beware! Each mini-room locks to add privacy and prevent theft of clothes and personal items.

Windows were enlarged in the hallways to bring more light in. "Sherley has long central hallways, and we wanted to add natural light so it would have a not-so-institutional look," said Craig Allen, director of residential services who conducted the tour.

There are 314 beds, adjustable for a traditional low setting or a high bunkbed style that is the most popular. (The beds were used last year in the Clark Hall renovation and were received positively by students, Allen said.) Each room will come with a desk and dresser for each resident and two data ports, although the whole building is wireless ready. There are also a walk-in closet and mini-fridge in every room.

Interestingly, every room is equipped with a phone jack, although Allen estimates that 90 percent of students don't use them. The age of cell phones reigns supreme.

On each floor in Sherley is a new wrinkle in TCU student housing: the 9-bed supersuite, with three double rooms, one triple and a large L-shaped common area.

At the corners of each hall will be large study lounges with soft seating, a table and six chairs and a dry erase board. Stairwells were pushed to the outside of the building to accommodate the lounges.

On all three floors, the east and west wings meet in a common area: lobby on the first floor, ping pong table on the second and billiards on the third. They'll also be a 48-inch flat-screen television and plentiful soft seating. Off the hall is a large room for quiet study.

The basement offers more amenities, including a baking kitchen with oven, microwave and oversized sink. "There's no stove top," Allen said. "When we surveyed students, many of them told us they just wanted a place to bake a frozen pizza or make cookies."

But the main attraction is the 36-seat mini-theatre with 10-foot screen and surround sound. Students will be able to bring their own DVDs and play them or it may be used for wing functions. Around a corner are three gaming stations with 42-inch monitors and a set up for Wii.

"We toured several of the new apartments around the campus perimeter, and we feel like we have nicer amenities than they do," Allen said. "Students are going to love living here."

At approximately $3,100 a semester, plus meal plan, they'll be getting their money's worth.

Residential Services will having a hard time topping Sherley when Milton Daniel Hall undergoes renovation during the 2009-10 school year and Colby Hall does the following year.

"We're going to have to look at balconies or skylights," Allen said. "I don't know what more we can do."

1 comment:

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