by Hannah Q. Scott
St. Ben’s College in Georgia is building a new residence hall that could revolutionize student housing as we know it. The new hall is designed with a focus on providing students with as much privacy as possible.
“Students can go from class to their rooms and to work without ever having to interact,” said Dr. Charlene Tyson, Director of Housing, during an interview conducted in her basement cubicle in the former chemistry lab building.
The impetus for the new hall (unnamed because of competing donations from the founders of Facebook and Netflix) was the ever-increasing number of complaints from students about roommates and neighbors.
“We were getting really tired of students whining about having to say hello to one another in the hallway,” said Area Coordinator Jessica Steele. “I’m even more tired of parents calling to discuss the inappropriateness of their child’s roommate’s habit of going to bed at eleven and waking up at seven.”
“In the past five years, I have yet to meet a student who’s shared any space with anyone – they all had private baths and their own rooms,” added Assistant Director Angie Chou. “They even refused to go to sleep-away camp because of the potential for lice or athlete’s foot.”
The new hall will house 116 students, each with a private entrance and bath, as well an individualized mail slot in each front door so students can avoid the distasteful common mailroom. The walls are completely soundproof, and the windows are quadruple glazed for insulation from any outside noise.
“When we solicited feedback from students about the new building, they were most insistent on one thing, and we are proud to meet their needs,” explained Steele. “Each student in this new hall will be able to receive meals by way of room service, so as to avoid the noise and interaction in the dining hall.”
The new hall will open next fall, with or without a name, and there is already a waiting list of 3642 students. Currently, the Department of Housing is working in conjunction with the Counseling Center and Admissions to determine a strategy for communicating with students dissatisfied with their wait list rankings.