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New Residence Halls/Sorority Suites Set Standard for Student Living

When making the decision to attend Penn State, on campus housing probably wasn’t one of the selling points. Some of the cramped cement boxes haven’t been updated in more than 50 years, and although the maintenance staff is great, the lack of air conditioning and WiFi access made living in the dorms a less than comfortable experience at times.

That’s all about to end at Penn State.

The brand new Chace Hall and the renovated Haller Hall are set to open to students for the first time this weekend in South — both offering a taste of the future for on campus Penn State student housing. The new dorms are part of the first phase for updating all of the archaic residence halls on campus, a project that is expected to last longer than a decade.

Onward State received a tour of the beautiful new buildings before they are set to open to students for the fall semester.

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(Photo: Nabil Mark)

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(Photo: Nabil Mark)

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The floors include a common area, which all include a flat screen TV, various chairs and couches, and a kitchen, along with plenty of open space for activities. Conal Carr, the director of housing operations, said that the floors are designed to offer privacy and comfort while also maintaining the spirit of community that suites lack, especially when living with other freshmen.

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Each building also includes a large gathering space with all the technologies required to run a meeting. This is an ideal setup for sorority chapter meetings, especially considering about half of the residents in the new building will be Greek. Each meeting space also includes a full kitchen just around the corner.

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Yes, that is what it looks like — a private bathroom. Each floor contains multiple private bathrooms on a 1 bathroom per 6 student ratio. Gone are the days when you’re trying to brush your teeth while the guy from across the hall sounds and smells like he’s injuring a small animal in the stall five feet away from you. The showers also have modern heads with pressure control instead of the typical Penn State residence hall shower which seems to rely only on gravity.

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The rooms contain much more headroom and storage space than Penn Staters are used to. The closets are bigger too with two levels of racks to hang clothes on. The floor is some type of synthetic wood, which allows for easier cleanup than a carpet but not as easy to scratch like real wood. There’s also air conditioning and WiFi access in every room.

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The hallways are carpeted, and you won’t even need to buy a whiteboard to hang outside your room.

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Each building also has a large deck outside. As other residence halls continue to be renovated, some of the decks will overlook College Ave.

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All in all, the 1,237 room project cost $87,000 per bed space in Chace and $67,000 in Haller. More residence halls are set to be renovated this fall and next spring as Penn State moves to the future in on campus living. It’s safe to say the inaugural residents are in for a real treat.

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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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