New first-year students and "veteran" students alike will find cranes, earthmovers, electricians, roofers, computer network specialists, and other workers in and around a variety of campus residence halls when they arrive on campus.
Part of the flurry of construction has to do with an intensive project to make sure that every residence hall room has data ports installed by the end of January 2001, giving all residents high-speed access to the campus Ethernet network.
By the end of the summer, Hillcrest, Daum, and Mayflower will be fully wired. Quadrangle was wired in 1997. Workers will be installing Ethernet communication closets in Burge, Currier, Stanley, Rienow, and Slater when students arrive.Construction workers will be in those halls between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday. However, they have been instructed to make only minimal noise in the buildings before 9 a.m. and not to enter a student room before that hour.
"We are hoping that all the wiring in common areas of all of the residence halls will be completed before students arrive," says Celine Hartwig, assistant to the director of Residence Services.
"Its important for students to know in advance that construction will be taking place, especially around Rienow, Slater, Stanley, and Currier halls, when they are moving in," she adds. "We will notify students in advance when workers need access to their room to remove old telecommunications jacks and install new data ports. We will try to minimize any inconvenience."
When the wiring is done and the system needs to be cut over from Residence Services to Instructional Technology Services (ITS), there will be a brief periodprobably less than one daywhen residence hall telephone lines will not work in the buildings where construction is taking place, she adds. Students will have advance notice when that is scheduled.
The wiring has been a massive project, but it wasnt the only construction taking place over the summer. Other workers were completing renovations and "fix-ups" around the eight residence halls. Floors 1 to 5 of Stanley, some rooms in Hillcrest, and all Burge lounges have new carpet. In addition, all the Burge lounges have new furniture. The main lounge in Stanley is renovated. New "loftable" beds have been installed in the north section of Hillcrest, and more air conditioners and new windows have been placed in center and south areas of Hillcrest. A project to renovate Hillcrest bathrooms, which started five years ago, is complete. Fire safety upgrades have been installed in Mayflower and Hillcrest, and they will be installed in other residence halls over the next several years. A new basketball court area has been added near Slater. Hillcrests entrance and its adjacent courtyard also have been completely remodeled.
At Mayflower, a two-year reroofing project will be finished this year. Mayflower has had extensive interior and exterior remodeling in the past two years, and new refrigerators have been installed in suites. The lobby is totally remodeled, and an espresso coffee shop has been opened near the broad windows overlooking the Iowa River. The coffee shop includes computer terminals, so students can check e-mail while they drink a beverage. Musicians frequently entertain in the coffee shop on Friday nights.
Whats Important? Food!
Some of the most exciting changes in the residence halls have to do with new dining features.
While Hillcrest food service construction has been under way, Hillcrest students have eaten in the Quadrangle dining hall. The new Hillcrest Market Place will debut this fall, with menus that are a "world apart" from traditional dining hall fare. Foods will range from Asian to south of the border, as well as homestyle cooking. Theyll be arranged in a food court, with individual "shops": Worlds Fare, Big Ten Bakery, Grand Avenue Grill, Field of Greens, Golden Harvest Home Cooking, Soups of the Day, the Westside Deli, and Piazza Café.
Hillcrest dining hall employees will have a new look, too. They will be wearing denim shirts and slacks in nontraditional colors, chefs jackets, and neckerchiefs.
Food choices have changed, so printed menus will be posted on residence hall floors, main bulletin boards, and by the entrance to the Market Place and its individual stations. Theyll also be available on a redesigned web page.
At Burge Hall, a popular new Clinton Street Deli has been installed. Students may choose from a variety of breads (some home-baked), meats, cheeses, and toppings for a sandwich to be made for them. Student reviews this summer have been excellent, so the new feature will continue in the fall.
Busy students may take advantage of Hawkeye Express: Great Foods to Go at Hillcrest and Burge dining halls. For breakfast, from 7 to 10 a.m., students may choose any two items from muffins, English muffins, bagels, cereals, or breakfast rolls, plus one fruit and two drinks.
At lunch and dinner, students may choose any two items from sandwiches, bagels with cream cheese, a large chef salad, or the entrée of the day, plus four sides from chips, veggies, fruit, dessert, soup, yogurt, cottage cheese, pudding, or a small side salad with dressing. A drink goes with the package.
Grab N Go is available for meal contract holders, who just swipe their ID card to pay.
By Anne Tanner