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Exclusive village community opens doors

Aug. 23, 2004

By AMANDA HICKS, copy editor

Upperclassmen anxiously awaiting the opening of a new place to call home were welcomed into the $33 million North Village Residential Community this week.

The community will provide accommodations for 603 students in three houses.

"The North Village has historic significance to Baylor," Larry Brumley, associate vice president for external relations, said. "Since 1967, Campus Living and Learning has worked diligently to transform freshmen eating and sleeping halls by building on the history of the traditions of great residential colleges."

Dr. Frank Shushok, dean for student learning and engagement, said input from a student panel played a large role in extending visiting hours for upperclassmen North Village residents.

"With staying on campus beyond their first year should come more privileges," Shushok said. "We took that into account when we decided to extend the hours."

The panel's suggestion the community be open year-round also has been implemented, Shushok said.

"The North Village doesn't close, unlike other residence halls that are only open for nine months," Shushok said. "That way, students will never have to move out. The North Village offers more flexibility."

Female students will be divided between the Heritage and Texana Houses, and males will stay in the University House. Shushok said Heritage House was built to be capable of splitting into coed units.

"It would be like two houses connected," Shushok said. "But there would be a main corridor between them, and there would be card access to get in."

The BECK Group began building the 221,906-sq.-foot residential community in March 2003 and finished this July. Hanbury, Evans, Wright and Vlattas from Norfolk, Va., served as the architect for the village.

Architect and President Jane Wright said Baylor students' input was held in high regard when adding spiritual elements.

Some of the symbols include art glass that tells a story of the gospels, a coat of arms for each house and a spiritual walkway paved with stones carved with 10 Bible verses.

The Community Building located between the two women's houses pulls visitors from the parking garage into the area. In the center are a small stage where students may participate in open-mic shows or small performances, a meeting area under a high ceiling and a café.

At the Seasons 3:1 Café in the Community Building, all Baylor students, faculty and staff can treat themselves to salads, sandwiches, soups, specialty teas and, on occasion, sushi. Menus will be provided to residents one week in advance. Students can rent out the café and choose their own menus for special events.

"We're looking into having a time when President [Robert B.] Sloan [Jr.] can eat with the students, too," Shushok said.

More than 100 computer science majors will live in the Engineering and Computer Science Living-Learning Center, a part of the North Village. Community leaders who oversee these students are from the engineering and computer science department as well.

Dr. Walter Bradley, distinguished professor of engineering and associate dean for research in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, and his wife Ann will serve as faculty in residence in the Texana House. Bradley said he and his wife are looking forward to being in a situation where they will have much more contact with students.

"We'd always done a lot of ministry during the years we taught with students at [Texas] A&M," Bradley said. "We first got acquainted with this when we were in a dorm situation with students in France. Living with students provided a lot of nice opportunities to be involved. I was able to get to know students I only taught for one term better than those I've taught for multiple semesters."

Rooms at other Baylor residence halls average $1,560 per semester. North Village residents pay between $2,138 and $2,975 for the new rooms. However, laundry facilities and cable television are included in the cost.

More than 750 students put down their $200 security deposits, but the spots were filled before the community opened.

"As new students enter the halls next year, older students can pass on the stories of the North Village," Brumley said.

Environmentally conscious students on the panel called for more recycling efforts in the community. As part of a cross-campus initiative to increase access to recycling facilities, North Village designers included recycling rooms in the halls. The rooms, which will be used to store paper recyclables, are separated from trash rooms.

Community leaders were chosen according to experience and application. Gary Stout, a Bedford senior, said he worked at both Martin and Penland residence halls before being assigned to the new community.

"It's an honor to be a part of the first year it's open," Stout said. "I'm looking forward to the unknown."