March 9, 2011

Residence Hall: Renovation

Filed under: Uncategorized — publicandprivatespace @ 8:28 pm

By: Jennifer Burwell

The layout of residence halls should be modified to satisfy the needs of college students. College students desire a friendlier environment that transitions well from home to a residence hall. The current layout of residence halls need to be renovated to better utilize the space and to satisfy college students who inhabit them.  Campuses are not providing the quality students’ desire and are required to pay for.

Current residence halls consist of similar layouts. Students live with two to four roommates of the same sex. In the University of Cincinnati a student is given an average of 34 square feet to place a bed, dresser, and desk.  Bathrooms are shared by everyone on the same floor of the same sex.  Residence halls often provide common areas that are secluded and are poorly furnished. Current residence halls are not satisfying students’ needs.          


Meeting students’ needs will allow them to be more comfortable at the university or college.  Students require more individual space.  This private space will allow an individual to maintain a personal schedule or a sleeping schedule.  This private space should be quiet in addition to a place that can be personalized by an individual.  Interaction between students is also important.  An area designed to allow students to connect and socialize. Simple improvements to residence halls could improve the satisfaction of students and increase retention rates.

Renovation can sound daunting especially with the scale of a residence hall.  Simple modifications can be made to accommodate students’ desire for private space.  Movable dividers can be added to already remaining rooms to cater to this requirement.  Students can use this divider to their preference whether that is to divide the space of areas to sleep and study, or to divide the space between roommates.  This divider gives occupants the ability to personalize the space to fulfill the individuals’ needs.  It is a versatile option that is cost effect.  Another option to solve this problem could involve a more permanent solution.  Constructing individual rooms will also produce satisfactory results for students.  Private space is not the only complaint from residence hall inhabitants.

Common spaces are included also in the layout and construction of dorms.  However, these spaces are underutilized because of the poor structural design and interior.  Current communal spaces are secluded and lack a designated purpose. If the communal spaces in residence halls were more open to the hallways between rooms or even connected to a large number of rooms more students would utilize them.  The seclusion they currently possess allows one person to use the area and others to avoid it in order to not invade another’s personal space.  An open space in the center of walkways will allow interaction on a daily basis.


On a larger scale, residence halls on campus are often further distance with nothing connecting them.  Locating residence halls closer together with spaces connecting them could also increase interaction.  This larger scale interaction will enable students to gather easier in bad weather.

Residence halls are in need of renovation.  With prices of college on an increasing trend the quality of housing provided to students should also increase.  Improving residence halls is proven to increase satisfaction and overall experience of campus.  These developments can also affect students in a positive way.  Grades, attitudes, stress levels, and other factors will be positively influenced with this proposal of change.



  1. by Daniel Rieman

    I agree with much of your argument on the importance of more personal space. I am, however, a little unclear about the benefits of the common areas as you presented them. Being a very private person, I would not use the common areas very frequently, if at all. I also believe that most individuals would prefer the privacy of their own room or the social setting provided elsewhere. Since these areas are being largely unused, I think it would be hard to justify improving them. Regarding the floor laying, I am not able to imagine one that is any more efficient or appropriately balanced between public and private areas. Certainly bigger is better, but I would imagine that any improvement would drastically increase the cost of living on campus.

    Comment by Daniel Rieman — March 10, 2011 @ 3:03 pm | Reply


    I am a very neat person, and I like to have personal space to myself. I do agree that everyone should have a certain amount of space for just them. Whether this is used for sleeping, studying, or whatever, everyone needs their private time and space. I live in Turner Hall, and I love how every room has a common area. This gives me space no matter what. If my roommate is in the room, I have my space in the common room, and vice versa. On the other side residence halls are a great opportunity to meet new people, especially because most of the people living there are freshman. There needs to be a space where these students can meet and hang out. Whether it is in the rooms or in a lobby/ common room, every hall should have one, and it should be a place where people actually want to hang out. These areas are extremely underused and are just wasted. I definately agree that they need to be fixed up.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 1:20 am | Reply

  3. I agree with a lot of your article. It is true that in most dorms the amount of private space is next to nothing and the current conditions of most common areas are very dismal. Not every dorm is like this though, there are honors dorms and dorms like Stratford that do offer upscale living, however the price of living in those dorms is significantly higher and much of the social part of dorm living in college is generally believed to be lost too. When you talk about connecting areas when the weather is bad I would like to point out that UC does have tunnels connecting several different buildings. Of course the problem with this is that they are closed off to students for security reasons. Coming back to your main point though, renovating dorms is both expensive and time consuming. A prime example of this would be Scioto and Morgens Hall. These are the empty family dorms on the corner of campus by the medical campus. These dorms are finally reopening next year after 4 years and several million dollars spent on renovating them. In conclusion, I agree we need to improve what we have however I do not think it is a very plausible option.

    Comment by Thomas Mooney — March 11, 2011 @ 8:27 am | Reply

  4. While I don’t disagree with your argument that college students need more personal and private space, I feel as if the price of it is too great in these times. Too many people are already attending local colleges that may not be as good as universities too far away to commute. They are forced to settle due to the rising costs of living on campus or independently. I would also like to point out that students have coped with living in even smaller, less private situations in the dorms. It seems to be a rite of passage, one of maturity where people have adapted and made it through alive. What doesn’t kill us usually makes us stronger, but if nothing hurts us, we remain weak. Living in such spaces is a shared experience and can bring people together.

    -Phillip Schaefer

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

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