With the growing number of students in the Virginia Tech community and the demand for on-campus housing on the rise, Virginia Tech's Housing Services, a department within the Division of Student Affairs, is working hard to accommodate the needs of its students.

New Hall West will open this month to provide on-campus housing for more than 250 people.

Construction for New Hall West began in September of 2007 and has been completed in time for early move-in beginning Aug. 19. The new residence hall will provide 260 beds including six resident advisor rooms and a hall director apartment.

This new four-story residence hall is located on West Campus Drive between the Smith Career Center and Harper Hall. The resident rooms will be climate controlled and reserved for upperclassmen.

Each room is equipped with two wooden loftable beds, two desks with hutches, two dressers, a closet area with storage shelves, a granite sink and mirror, and a private bathroom with shower.

Lounges on each floor are equipped with a sink and refrigerator. On the third floor, there is a student kitchen available for use by residents. Laundry facilities with front-loading washers and dryers are located in the basement of New Hall West, with resident access 24 hours a day.

In addition to new student rooms, the first floor of New Residence Hall West will house offices for Student Programs administration, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Housing and Dining Services, Residence Life, and Student Conduct (formerly Judicial Affairs), along with the Division of Student Affairs support services including Communications and Marketing, Human Resources, and Emergency Preparedness Planning.

"New Hall West is a unique combination of office building and residence hall," said Edward Spencer, vice president for the Division of Student Affairs. "It will bring a new synergy to the Student Programs offices, since they will all be housed together in one building."

New Hall West and all new construction projects in Student Programs’ current master building plan are designed with sustainability in mind and will meet requirements for U.S. Green Building Council LEED silver certification. LEED certified buildings are designed to lower operating costs and increase asset value, reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve energy and water, be healthier and safer for occupants, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Other residence hall improvements completed this summer include new elevators for Lee Hall, new comfortable contemporary lounge furniture for many of the residence halls, security screens for the first-floor windows on all buildings, and bathroom renovations for Lee and Pritchard Halls. In addition, the first-floor male-use bathroom of Monteith was converted to an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) approved female-use bathroom.

To improve sustainability, the bathroom renovations in Lee and Pritchard include the installation of water-saving, low-flow fixtures with touchless flush sensors, an improvement that should not only cut down on the spread of germs, but help save an estimated 1 million gallons of water per year in Lee Hall alone.

Early move-in for campus residents begins Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 8:00 a.m. The fall 2009 semester begins Aug. 24.

Written by Melanie Harris of Hampton, Va., a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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