AUG. 22, 2006 | Rooms and apartments with modern furnishings and features including high speed and wireless Internet connections greeted students at the new University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Residence Hall when it opened in early August.
The new hall is an improvement over the almost 50-year-old Student Dormitory, imploded in February to make room for a 500,000-square-foot hospital expansion. That building, from its original furniture to its archaic heating and cooling system, was outdated and unable to meet the changing needs of UAMS students, said Larry D. Milne, Ph.D., UAMS Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research Administration.
Students started moving into the 92,000-square-foot Residence Hall the first week of August in advance of the 2006-2007 school year. The new residence hall, offering housing for UAMS students and guests, includes 177 units, with a mix of traditional dormitory-style rooms with semi-private baths, one-bedroom apartments and studio apartments.
“We were excited to see students moving into the wonderful new Residence Hall,” Milne said “Our contractors and staff worked hard to get the facility ready so students could be here in time for the start of classes. The Residence Hall has given us attractive and quality living areas and study spaces for our students and medical residents.”
Students are moving in the 145-unit south building of the Residence Hall, which features the duplexes (two separate dorm rooms that share a bathroom) and studio apartments. Cheri Goforth, director of student activities and housing, said more than 70 percent of those rooms were reserved by August.
Construction is continuing on the north building, which is expected to be complete by the end of September. That building will include 32 one-bedroom apartments, including some units set aside for visiting faculty. The apartments are all reserved, with some of those students temporarily staying in the south building until construction is complete, Goforth said.
An administration building with offices, mail room and housekeeping area sits between the two buildings. A parking lot for those living in the residence hall is being built behind the administration building.
The student living areas feature improved privacy compared to the old dormitory, which had community bathrooms for each floor. Every unit in the residence hall has its own bathroom or semi-private bath.
The new furnishings also are movable, Goforth said, giving students more flexibility. The old dorm’s drawers and desks were built into room walls.
Now, Internet connections and basic cable TV service are available to students for free. Previously, those services had to be arranged on an individual basis.
“These are professional students, so we want to provide the kind of living accommodations that suit their needs,” Goforth said. “And those needs have changed since the old dorm opened in 1959 – long before the Internet.”
Shuliang Liu, a second-year graduate student in the Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Science, lived in the old dorm before it closed and is now in a duplex in the new residence hall. He said he enjoys the updated furnishings and other amenities.
“The biggest improvements, in my view, are the privacy and convenience provided by new construction,” Liu said. “The most notable items for me among the added facilities are Internet access and basic cable TV in each room. It is more convenient for study life and recreation.”
The Residence Hall is part of a campus expansion effort to provide much-needed space for UAMS to meet its education, patient care, research and service missions.
The hospital expansion, the new Psychiatric Research Institute and a parking deck are being built at the site where the old dormitory was imploded and the nearby Jeff Banks Student Union and
Planning for a major expansion of the
Links on This Page
UAMS Residence Hall: http://www.uams.edu/growing/projects/residence_hall.asp
UAMS Student Housing: http://www.uams.edu/studentlife/student_housing.asp
Psychiatric Research Institute: http://www.uams.edu/growing/projects/psychiatry.asp
UAMS Site Development: http://www.uams.edu/growing/projects/site_dev.asp