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Des Places residence hall opens

By Anthony Meier
On August 30, 2012

  • Junior advertising and public relations major Hanna Kubat and junior integrated maketing communications major Emily Laumer relax Monday in their new Des Places Hall dorm room. Fred Blauth/Photo Editor

Des Places Hall, Duquesne's new residence hall, opened Aug. 11 after about two years of construction.

The 12-story Certified LEED-Gold building houses 384 students in 103 units, according to Sharon Oelschlager, Director of the Office of Residence Life.

Rob Dobish, executive director of Facilities Management, said the final quarter of construction of the new dormitory did not face any major setbacks.

"For all intents and purposes, it was like any other job and went very smoothly," Dobish said.

Along with a successful construction job, Raili Kieley, director of the Office for Planning and Budget, said the University is on target of hitting the projected budget of around $37 million.

"The projected budget includes the construction to McCloskey Field and the sidewalk additions," Kieley said.

Kieley said the expenditures of the project have yet to be finalized. An official budget number won't be known for at least a couple months, she said.

Paul James-Cukanna, associate provost for Enrollment Management, believes Des Places will enhance the experience for current and incoming students.

"One of the first things prospective students and their parents want to see when they visit is on-campus housing," Cukanna said. "Today's students have high expectations of campus services and demand an engaging environment in which to live and learn."

Dobish said the University and the construction workers are pleased with how the overall results turned out.

"We are very proud of it ... the University is very proud of it," Dobish said. "It will be a good addition for years to come...students who live there should be happy about the results."

Residents, who moved in last week, are happy with how the Des Places has turned out. Shane O'Malley, a junior secondary-education major, is already enjoying living in the new dormitory.

"So far it has been a pretty good experience overall," said O'Malley, who lived in Towers Living Learning Center last year. "You can tell they put a lot of work into it."

Fellow resident, Hannah Paterni, a junior history and theology double major who also lived in Towers the previous two years, said there is no comparison between the two dormitories.

"It is absolutely beautiful here, much better than Towers," said Paterni. "The ceilings are higher, there's a lot more natural light coming in."

Paterni described the experience like "living in a nice apartment without an oven."

Junior healthcare management major Tyler Ball agreed.

"I feel like it's more like an apartment than a dorm ... Everything feels like you're more at home than anything," Ball said. "I think everybody is enjoying it thus far."

Ball added that the set-up of the rooms really gives Des Places a different environment.

"My favorite part is probably just how the rooms are set-up," Ball said. "They got the bathrooms separate from the showers now, different areas so everyone can be doing their own thing. It's really convenient."

Students aren't as enthused about the visitation rules though. For Paterni, classifying Des Places Hall as an upperclassmen residence hall is a bit far-fetched.

"I feel like we're in a limbo between upperclassmen housing and having this umbilical cord on us, where they won't cut the cord," Paterni said.

Ball, a resident of Towers Hall last year, said the rules are "stricter than anything I've experienced so far."

Oelschlager understands the potential issues with the rules. Des Places Hall is a living-learning center though, like all the other housing facilities on campus and will stick with the traditional rules, she said.


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