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UNT to introduce pod-style living with new residence hall

UNT to introduce pod-style living with new residence hall

The new residence hall in the process of being constructed. It is located by Kerr Hall, on the corner of Ave A and Eagle Drive.

UNT to introduce pod-style living with new residence hall
March 28
14:32 2018

UNT’s upcoming and unnamed residence hall will feature pod-style student communities, private restrooms including accommodations for transgender and non-gender-binary students and Living Learning Communities.

The nearly 19,000-square-foot hall, which has already been the subject of a firestorm over naming, will reside behind the existing Kerr Hall and is part of a major construction project that also includes a visitor center.

Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services Daniel Armitage explained what a pod-style community is.

“A pod is where you have four to nine sleeping rooms that would be centered off of a central hallway and would be centered around some sort of centralized social space and around appropriate restroom space,” Armitage said. “The pod concept is set up around 18 to 20 people, self-contained restrooms that are all put together to give people more privacy and then some shared common space that they can basically get out of the room, study, play games, watch TV, interact, watch Netflix — those kinds of things.”

Armitage said that while students will have to cross a hall to get to the restroom, the increased privacy makes up for it being less-conveniently located.

The pod idea was chosen as the result of research conducted in the early 2000s, in which students, architects and engineers were engaged in a “creative concept of designing [what] the next housing facility will look like,” Armitage said.

“What they found is that they should no longer build double-loaded corridor, 50 to 60 people on a floor, kind of rooms,” Armitage said. “They should keep living environments to no more than 24 or 25 and you should build smaller areas where students can get to know each other easier and can engage at a higher level and work in that capacity.”

With this privacy-oriented design, the restrooms will not be gender specific.

“With people set up in this pod restroom environment where it’s solely self-contained, it basically is a restroom that one person goes into, uses the restroom and uses the shower, with privacy,” Armitage said. “It basically addresses any kind of concerns that anybody might have with gender-specified restrooms.”

As far as making restrooms in existing dining halls more private, Armitage said the university is “always looking at our buildings for renovations and modernizations” and that it will depend on “opportunities with existing structures.”

Other amenities within the new residence hall include practice rooms for musicians, a full kitchen that will be open to residents, study lounges and new Living Learning Communities. The addition of an e-sports/video game community is being considered, according to Armitage.

It is not yet known who will be housed in the Living Learning Communities within the pods.

“We haven’t talked about the strategic assignments yet,” Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life Gina Vanacore said. “The pod style does lend itself to that little sub-community that can be very specialized or focused, so we can explore different topics linked to academics or vocational interests.”

Logistics and supply chain management sophomore Natalie Pearson-Porter lived in Clark Hall her freshman year and said she felt a little jealous living directly next to Rawlins hall.

“That’s just how technology and innovation is moving, so I can’t be mad,” Pearson-Porter said. “I’m jealous of them, they’re going to have it nicer. They’re not going to have to deal with [bugs and lizards], it’s going to be a lot nicer.”

Pearson-Porter said she has heard of the pod-style setup and that it will be a positive experience for the incoming freshmen.

“All my friends go to University of Kentucky and that’s how their dorms were set up, so it gave them more privacy to be on their own and study, but it gave them a community and that’s how a lot of them made friends, then they live in apartments with them now,” Pearson-Porter said.

The 500-bed hall is set to be completed by March 28, 2019.

“We’re on schedule, we’re on target, in-line and in-budget,” Vanacore said. “We should take ownership [in summer 2019]. The tour center will probably be able to be utilized first. And then we’ll be assigning students into [the new residence hall] for fall of 2019.”

Featured Image: The new residence hall in the process of being constructed. It is located by Kerr Hall, on the corner of Avenue A and Eagle Drive. Jacob Ostermann

About Author

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel was the news editor at the North Texas Daily from August 2018 to May 2019, and previously served as a staff writer from June 2017 to August 2018.

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