After many months of planning and construction, Park Manor West opened its doors this January to welcome new residents. The 81,000-square-foot, three-floor building, located in the heart of campus along College Drive, primarily houses first-year students. “It’s a great place,” says Elise Towers ’18. “I love all the new amenities and love living here.”
The residence hall is designed to encourage student interactions. Its first floor is particularly busy, with an amphitheater, classroom space, conference rooms, and the Leonard A. Schlesinger First Year Innovation Center, where students can work on their FME projects. Walk through West’s main doors, and you’ll see students catching up as they come and go. “It’s meant to be a place where people collide and have conversations,” says Kevin Araujo-Lipine, assistant director, residence education. “They’re making connections. They’re feeling a part of the community.”
Students also are creating a home away from home in the 200-bed building. When Towers and friend Hayley Finik ’18 decided to be roommates, they wanted their new room to feel cozy. “We both began to look for comforters and would send each other pictures of the ones that we liked,” says Towers. Eventually, they filled their room with pictures, decorations, and plenty of pink (Towers’ favorite color) and teal (Finik’s favorite). “Hayley and I leave our door unlocked when we’re in, and it’s nice because friends will come in and hang out,” Towers says.
Black, white, and Tiffany blue became the color scheme for the room shared by Jill Klinvex and Brooke Soly, also members of the Class of 2018. On the wall, a picture of Audrey Hepburn in all her Breakfast at Tiffany’s charm looks out. “I love Audrey Hepburn,” Soly says.
Of course, not everyone puts such effort into decorating. “Guys don’t get it at all,” says Kelsey Claflin ’18. But they do appreciate the common spaces—the numerous lounges, an airy laundry room located on the third floor (instead of hidden away in the basement), and a spacious and sleek communal kitchen, where the smell of baking cookies is common. This past Valentine’s Day, some boyfriends even cooked their girlfriends fancy meals, Soly says.
The new building is just one of the changes coming to the Park Manor area. Park Manor South currently is being renovated and will be finished for the fall semester, while Park Manor Central will undergo a yearlong renovation now that the spring semester is finished. This fall, even Roger’s Pub, currently located in Central, will move to a newly designed space in Trim Dining Hall.—John Crawford