Kalpana Chawla Hall, a living/learning residence that groups students by their academic interests, opened this fall. Director Matt Hendricks and Assistant Director Jessica Harrison are responsible for making sure things run smoothly. They're aided by nine resident assistants and 10 peer counselors.
UTA Magazine went over some floor plans with Hendricks three days into the semester.
What are the residents saying?
I believe most have been very impressed. It truly is a beautiful building with a lot to offer. I think all of the residents are excited about living in the newest residence hall on campus, and you can already start to see friendships forming and strong communities being built.
What are these communities all about?
K.C. Hall features two styles of learning communities. The smallest of these are the freshman interest groups, or FIGs--15 to 25 students who are co-enrolled in a number of classes. Each FIG is embedded within a larger learning community, which is a group of students who live in close proximity and share similar academic interests. There are eight learning communities: nursing, business, leadership, engineering, science, liberal arts, social science, and fine arts and architecture.
Does the hall include classrooms?
Yes, a large classroom that can be divided into two classrooms. This will be the meeting place for all of the college adjustment courses that are taught to our FIG students their first semester. It will also be used to hold meetings for our hall council and for programs presented by resident assistants and peer counselors.
How much study room is available?
K.C. Hall features three study lounges, one on each floor. These rooms have Internet access, comfortable study tables, computer desks and group meeting areas. There's also Internet access in every student's room, the classroom and various sites throughout the building.
What recreational facilities are included?
The Great Room, the main resident hangout, features two brand new pool tables, a big-screen TV with a VCR and DVD player, a fully functioning kitchen and plenty of space to lounge and chat with friends. The hall office also offers students the opportunity to check out a variety of sports equipment, board games and more. We believe that these recreational alternatives offer a nice balance to the hall's obvious focus on academics and provide needed stress relief during busy times of the year.
And the other amenities?
K.C. has a beautiful enclosed courtyard that is landscaped and equipped with barbecue grills and outdoor seating. We also offer convenient gated parking, a 24-hour automated security system, free cable TV, phone, high-speed Internet and a wide variety of kitchen equipment, games and cleaning supplies that residents can use for free.
How many beds?
There are 421 beds in four room types, featuring double and private rooms in traditional and suite-style living. We opened at about 99 percent capacity and expect to be at 100 percent very soon.
What's the biggest challenge to overseeing the residence hall?
The biggest challenge in running any hall is caring for the safety and well-being of our residents. We try to offer a community that will very much be a home away from home for our students, which means that sometimes you have to be a mother, father, sibling and grandparent all rolled into one. With K.C. Hall having so many first-year students, this also means working to ensure that their introduction to life at UTA is a positive one.