[Note: this story has been modified since its original posting to correct errors.]
Discovery, Excellence, Respect and Responsibility are no longer just MU’s core values; they will also be home to 721 MU students this fall.
Beginning Aug. 15, students will move into the four new residence halls, named for the four core values. They are MU’s first since the completion of Gillett Hall in 1967. Construction costs totaled about $45 million; a little over $35 million was paid by Residential Life. Campus Dining Services, which will operate Plaza 900, the dining facility, contributed a little more than $9 million.
The halls feature a variety of room types, including a double suite, complete with a small living room separating two double bedrooms. Other options are single or double semi-suites, which lack the living room, and the standard double room that is available in most residence halls. Single rooms with bathrooms are primarily for Residential Life student staff. Each room type has its own bathroom. Before construction of the new halls, students who wanted their own bathrooms had to live in the 380-person capacity Mark Twain Hall.
The Virginia Avenue group, as the four are collectively called, are also home to two staff apartments, allowing hall staff to be available at all times. A third apartment will be available to guests, such as visiting professors.
New amenities available
The new halls offer more modern amenities than most other residence halls on campus. In addition to the ethernet available in all halls, the new halls feature a wireless network, giving students Internet service anywhere in the building. Rooms were also designed with more electrical outlets than the other halls.
Residential Life Director Frankie Minor explained that students today generally bring four times as many electrical appliances as they did when most of the other halls were built. Each room or suite features its own thermostat, giving students temperature control. All rooms are air conditioned.
A sprinkler system has replaced the fire-containment method in use in the older halls.
High cost doesn't discourage students
The new residence halls are more expensive than other halls. Residents on Mizzou 14 plan — 14 meals per week — can expect to pay $6,950 a year for a double room or semi-suite. Double suites run $7,150. A double room in Hudson, one of the campus’ cheapest halls, is $5,170.
The comparatively high price did not discourage students from filling the new halls to capacity. About 55 percent of the residents are returning students, who were allowed to select their rooms on a first come, first served basis.
The opening of the Virginia Avenue group also allowed Residential Life much needed extra beds. They will not be assigning any students to Hillcrest Hall on the Stephens College campus this fall. Minor pointed out that the net gain of beds is really only about 225 though, as the Blair group, including Donnelly, Smith and Blair halls, will be demolished this year to begin construction of the Southwest Campus Housing.
The halls’ names are a departure from the usual practice of naming campus buildings after financial contributors or renowned alumni. Minor said the buildings may one day be named after somebody, but until then, Residential Life wanted the names to have significance to the university.