By TARA HETTINGER
Wearing a white construction hat with “IU” written on it, Indiana University President Michael McRobbie walked through the new residence halls Tuesday at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany with IUS Chancellor Sandra Patterson-Randles at his side.
At their first stop, the duo, along with other staff members, walked into a four-bedroom, two-bath lodge, where each student would have his or her own room.
While checking out the first of the bedrooms, Patterson-Randles laughed as she demonstrated to McRobbie how much bigger the single room is compared to the double she lived in as an undergraduate student at University of Colorado at Boulder.
McRobbie said the same was true for him, at his college in Australia.
He said there is a push among Big 10 schools to make residence halls bigger and better. He said IUS’ new lodges will give the university an advantage over others.
“What you’re finding is that students are more demanding than what they used to be in terms of quality of accommodations that colleges provide to them, and it’s becoming a competition between universities to be able to provide the highest-quality accommodations,” McRobbie said.
He said that will pay off in the end.
“If students are comfortable, they can focus on their main purpose, which is getting degrees and doing as well as they possibly can,” McRobbie said.
He also said the residence halls are likely to entice more local residents to attend IUS, bring people from further away and retain current students, since they will be comfortable and happy in their environment.
Patterson-Randles said she was thrilled to hear the compliments from McRobbie, who at the end of his tour simply said, “Superb.”
“I’ve been here since the very beginning, during the feasibility study, through working with the planning and details, to picking out paint colors,” Patterson-Randles said. “I’m just really so pleased to see this actually become a reality after IU Southeast has been trying to do this for 20 years.”
So far, 278 students have submitted paid applications to live on campus this fall. There are a total of 389 spots available for students in the five residence halls. An additional 14 are allotted for residence-hall staff.
“I’m very pleased,” Patterson-Randles said about the numbers. “This is a major, major milestone. It will change the whole campus culture.”
Earlier in the day, McRobbie spoke at a Jeffersonville Rotary Club meeting.
So you know
• Construction on the five residential lodges at Indiana University Southeast is scheduled to be completed before the student move-in day, which is Aug. 21.
• All units are fully furnished and include a kitchen.
• Each lodge has on-site laundry, a computer lab, a great room and a study lounge.
• About 400 students will live in the lodges.
• IUS estimates that for the next two years, the economic impact for the area will be more than $44 million. Once the hosing units are completed and occupied, the annual economic impact on the regional economy is expected to be about $4 million.
• For more information, go to www.ius.edu/housing.