M Street Residence Hall, a new five-story housing facility at Arkansas Tech University, is being outfitted with the amenities that will make it home for 290 students beginning next month.
Aaron Hogan, associate dean for residence life at Arkansas Tech, reports that the beds were delivered and installed last week. Lobby furniture will begin arriving on Thursday, July 18, and the mattresses will be delivered the first week in August.
Once the washers and dryers are installed in the M Street Residence Hall basement laundry room in mid-August, the facility will be ready to house students for the first time.
Freshmen will move in on Aug. 24, followed by returning students two days later. Classes for the fall 2013 semester at Arkansas Tech begin on Aug. 28.
“The first thing I notice in the building is the size of the rooms,” said Hogan. “The ceilings are very tall, so it gives the building an open feel throughout. I believe that will be conducive to student living. One of the other things I really like about the facility is the color we have added throughout. It makes it comfortable and fun. I can talk all day about what I think it’s going to be like, but it’s the students who will get in there and make it their home. I’m excited to see that transformation.”
M Street Residence Hall encompasses 64,170 square feet. Van Horn Construction of Russellville began work on the $10.1 million project on Oct. 21, 2011. AMR Architects of Little Rock designed the facility, which will house male students on the first, third and fifth floors and female students on the second and fourth floors.
The construction of M Street Residence Hall is a milestone in what has been a multi-year effort to revitalize the southwest corner of the Arkansas Tech campus.
Recent renovations to four housing facilities adjacent to the new M Street Residence Hall — Critz Hall, Hughes Hall, Tucker Hall and Wilson Hall — mean that beginning this fall there will be more than 700 Tech students living in that pod of five residence halls.
“In between the Critz, Hughes, M Street, Wilson and Tucker residence halls, we have created a green space for the students to have a place to hang out and do things outdoors,” said Hogan. “It’s a pretty open space that all flows together. I think the simple fact that a large percentage of the campus population is going to be housed in that area will make it a focal point of campus life moving forward.”
In all, Arkansas Tech now has space to house approximately 3,000 students in university housing. That is more than triple the number of students who lived on campus at Tech just 15 years ago.
Hogan said that the Arkansas Tech Office of Residence Life works to not only provide for the safety and well-being of those 3,000 students, but also to provide students living on campus with additional resources to augment their classroom education.
He said that among the most valuable of those resources are the 90 undergraduate resident assistants and 15 graduate student resident directors who live among their fellow students in the residence halls.
Resident directors have been engaged in training for the fall 2013 semester on a daily basis since July 1. Resident assistants will begin their training process on Aug. 3.
“We provide our resident directors and resident assistants with the tools they need concerning policy and procedure, but of equal importance, we also teach them how to network with the residents in their different buildings,” said Hogan. “We want them to work to build a community within their residence halls. That’s how students create friendships, meet people with similar interests and meet people who are different from them.
“At the core of what we try to do through our residence life programming is to be an extension of the classroom,” continued Hogan. “It could be asking an expert to talk to residents about health and wellness. It could be learning a life skill, such as how to change a flat tire. They are all important things to know, but perhaps topics that aren’t always covered in a traditional classroom. We want to provide students with skills that can affect them in a positive way for the rest of their lives.”
There are a limited number of spaces remaining for students who wish to live in university housing at Arkansas Tech during the fall 2013 semester but have yet to reserve their space.
For more information about residence life at Arkansas Tech, call (479) 968-0376 or visit www.atu.edu/reslife.