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New Housing System Plans

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Staff Writer

With plans to construct a new residence hall by fall of 2012, Roanoke College makes changes in the current housing system. RC is a residential campus and building new dormitories increases the percentage of students that are able to live on-campus.

Plans for a new on-campus dorm have already been drawn up, and it will be constructed in what is now the Caldwell, Alleghany, Ritter parking lot. The new residence hall will be integrated and house a mix of all classes. The residence hall is comprised of several housing styles including singles, doubles, and apartment styles. A common room will connect the rooms and the floors will be much like the current housing is CAR.    

In the past few years, RC housing has changed such as integrating classes in select dormitories with the intent of creating a strong sense of community said Tess Blethyn, Director of Residence Life. Plans for the new residence hall have a similar goal of building a community around a residence hall but a different means of creating it. 

“One of [RC’s] goals is to move to a house system,” Blethyn said.  

The house system is a campus residence style that takes an area of campus housing, not necessarily one residence building, and the students live there for their time on campus said Blethyn.  The idea is that the student’s house is incorporated into their sense of identity on-campus and become more involved within the school via those in their house. Ideally, areas of campus life could be broken up into houses for instance intermural sports.  It’s the idea that even if a student that moves off campus that individual will still identify to their house. 

“It’s like Hogwart’s,” Blethyn said. “It’s really the best way to describe it.”

RC is not hijacking housing plans from fantasy novels just to improve ideas on how to appeal to students.  Other schools in the nation have had success with the house system. Franklin and Marshall is a private liberal arts college in Lancaster, Penn, which is of comparable size to RC; that has an impressive house system. F&M has four houses and each has its own crest, mascot, motto, and colors. At F&M, each house is student run with their own body of government, rules, and constitution. 

The new residence hall will act as the pinnacle of the projected house system for RC. It will be class integrated and the floors will have singles and double rooms.

“A freshman student can live there and still have a roommate experience, which is particular important your first year,” Blethyn said.  

The house system will tried to be gradually introduced as a functioning part of RC; there are plans to integrate upper and lower classes next year in Fox, Bowman and Crawford said Blethyn.  RC is gradually taking action to be integrated into the house system for the majority of campus living excluding Greek organizations.