By Michael Freeman, Managing Editor
When Kyle Shirey heard he was going to live in Edwards Hall instead of Mabee Hall, he was understandably happy.
“We’ve got our own bathroom, and I’ve seen my friends’ dorm rooms, and they’re a lot smaller,” said Shirey, freshman marketing major from San Angelo. “It’s pretty nice.”
Two floors of Edwards Hall occupied by freshmen is not the only new change in residential life this semester. The Office of Residence Life Education and Housing made dozens of renovations and policy changes over the summer. One change included moving its offices from McKinzie Hall to McDonald Hall, a building closer to the main streets that encircle the campus.
“I love this building, [McDonald Hall],” said John Delony, director of Residence Life Education and Housing. “I wanted to give parents and prospective students a prominent place to come and meet with Residence Life. It made sense to me to move over here.”
Also during the summer, renovations were made to most of the residence halls. McKinzie Hall’s lobby was completely redesigned and refurbished. McDonald Hall received new carpet, paint and vanities. Computers and furniture were installed in Edwards Hall. Parking lot lights were set up near the Smith-Adams Halls, and Gardner, Sikes and Nelson Halls all received minor renovations.
“Physical Resources came in and did an incredible job,” Delony said. “They have just been unbelievable.”
Policy rules also got a facelift. After Monday residents in sophomore dorms, instead of getting a second lottery, will receive a one-time opportunity to personally switch roommates as long as the switch occurs within the same dorm.
Juniors, seniors and graduate students will also have the chance to live in Smith-Adams Halls.
Visitation now will be held every Thursday in every hall in order to build a sense of community, Delony said.
All halls will be locked 24 hours per day, so any student wanting to get into the dorms will need card access.
Finally, all residence halls will cost the same price. Freshman dorms will cost $1,400 per semester, while all sophomore dorms will cost $1,750, according to the ACU Web site.
“I want to make sure that I’m fair to the ACU community,” Delony said. “I didn’t want students picking a hall based on what they could or could not afford. What I want students to do is to begin thinking past what’s the coolest hall or the most expensive hall, and thinking about which hall is best for them and which one they’ll really like better,” he said.
Residence Life moved all the resident directors from last year into different halls after an extensive training program over the summer. Six new resident directors were hired this semester.
“ACU is one of the best universities at being on the front end of residence halls,” Delony said. “They want them to be continually improved.”