Elena Sorrentino Editor-in-Chief
Fall 2019 marks the moment that many students have been waiting for: The opportunity to live in the newly renovated Shafer Hall. For seniors, who have been on campus for several years, it is remembered as the musty, run-down, old art building. For the newer kids on the block, it has remained a structure of mystery, closed and constantly bustling with construction activity. Shafer has been in the works since 2012, before even the Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC) was constructed. According to the Director of Housing and Residential Life, LaMar Coleman: “This, to me, is going to be one of the most unique residence halls, certainly in the state, I would also probably say most likely in the region, maybe in the country, because here we have a building where each resident, or the majority of each resident, is going to have pretty much a studio apartment.”
Shafer’s uniqueness can possibly be attributed to the fact that this residence building is the direct product of student input. During the planning stages, students were shown mock-ups of the building and offered feedback on the features that were presented. It was through this, says Coleman, “that they landed on the actual design of what the building is going to look like.” Specifically, he continues: “What rang very true from the students, is that students love single bedrooms, students love apartments, or the ability to cook their own meals and food, students love common spaces where people can gather.”
The setup of the building is primarily single-student studio apartments. These studios include their own kitchens and living spaces, and share a bathroom with another studio, similar to the toilet/shower setup of Constitution Hall. There will be 46 traditional studios, 13 double studios, in which two students share a studio space, and apartments for another 15 students that are more similar to the layouts of Nutmeg or Laurel. There are four RAs for the entire residence hall.
Additionally, there are many common spaces for students to utilize throughout the building. There is a common kitchen/lounge area that will have cooking facilities for Shafer’s students to use. Like many other residence halls on campus, it has study rooms with computers and a game room with amenities such as foosball, ping pong, pool, and a big-screen TV. The building also encompasses spaces for the entire student body as a whole, such as a small cafe where students can use dining dollars and a basketball gymnasium. Shafer will also retain its auditorium, which will be available for students to reserve through Student Activities.
Students will have the opportunity to choose to live in Shafer during this year’s housing-selection process in early April. Definitive pricing is still in the proposal stages, but it is currently estimated that living in the single studios will be a few hundred dollars more expensive per semester than living in Nutmeg or Laurel. The renovations will ideally be completed by mid to late July, so students will not have a chance to view the rooms in person until move-in day.