Incoming residents thrilled by new dorms, new possibilities
Heritage Hall opened its doors to University of West Florida students Aug. 19. Students, as well as their parents, were excited to see the eco-friendly, spacious living quarters, even as the rain tried to discourage their moving efforts. UWF President Judith Bense, along with Housing Director Ruth Davison and Vice President of Student Affairs Kevin Bailey, were there to welcome the students.
Heritage Hall is located just behind the Student Access Information Lab (SAIL) and is a convenient location for accessing all areas on campus.
For many, the residence hall represents UWF’s continuing growth and potential.
“There’s nothing like the beginning of a fall semester,” said Bense. “This new hall is a sign of UWF’s development and growth.” Enrollment for this semester is up 5 percent over last fall, with freshmen to sophomore retention at 80 percent. Housing is at 100 percent capacity with 1,801 students living on campus.
“It was really necessary for us to expand,” said Bense. “We’re starting to grow into a real collegiate environment. Housing and classes are full and I believe we’re growing purposefully and minimizing the negative effects that befall other larger universities. That shows positive momentum.”
Davison remarked that the new residence hall was intended to be more than just a place to sleep. “It’s so much more than just a living space,” she said. “We want it to feel like home.”
Bailey said he believed that it was important for the university to be impressive both in-class and outside. “It’s our job to give them an experience outside of class,” he said about Student Affairs. “That’s why we’re implementing numerous events to welcome students back, such as pep rallies, T-shirt swaps, giveaways, etc.”
The staff was not the only group excited about the new dormitory and upcoming student events. “I lived in Martin Hall last year,” said Kyle Schneider, a sophomore. “I’ve had a great college experience so far and I’m sure all of this will only make it better.”
Margaret Worsley, a parent of a legal studies student on campus, was pleased with what she saw. “The dorm is gorgeous,” she said. “On a scale of one to 10, I’d say the campus is a 20. My daughter is a first-generation college student and I couldn’t be happier with her choice to come to UWF from Miami. Its more intimate class sizes and affordability make it perfect!”
Heritage Hall offers suite-style living with two different bedroom options and average 700 square feet each. Residents may choose a single bedroom or a double occupancy option and each suite can house three to four students. The suites contain a kitchen and pantry area, as well as sinks and showers. On each floor, there is a communal living room area with couches and a television, as well as a laundry room, complete with washers and dryers.
“We don’t have this type of property anywhere else,” said Davison. “I’m very proud of what has been done.”
For more information, visit the Department of Housing Web site or call (850) 474-2463.
By Josh Newby, University Communications