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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI students, officials reopen transformed Barlow Hall
Ribbon-cutting highlights rebirth of 37-year old residence hall

KINGSTON, R.I. -- Sept. 26, 2000 -- University of Rhode Island students joined University and state officials today for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially reopen the transformed Barlow Hall, a residence hall built in 1963.

Barlow is the first of 14 residence halls the University has planned for comprehensive upgrades over an 8-year period at a total cost of $64 million. Barlow's construction cost was $6. 8 million.

The completion of Barlow illustrates in a striking way the project's theme, "Making Something Old New Again." Barlow is the first of six corridor-style residence halls to be renovated as part of the Freshman Village, which will accommodate 1,250 freshmen in a shared living and learning community.

A new tower at the main entrance, and protective canopies featuring attractive roof lines and soft exterior tones of green and tan, beckon residents to enter this 37-year-old building that now looks and feels like new. Inside, new carpeting in the hallways, oak furniture, study lounges, and new windows all provide a warm and welcoming environment.

"This building is a beacon to our students, the people of Rhode Island, and our faculty and staff that we are indeed building a new culture for learning," said URI President Robert L. Carothers. "While we have made great strides in strengthening our academic enterprise over the past nine years, we've also known that we needed to create dynamic, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing residence halls. As much as learning takes place in the classroom, it is also critical to note that it takes place in students' rooms over a cup of coffee. It happens informally over a shared pizza as students discuss a good book, movie or even a ball game. This is where our young people are learning life skills."

"With this gleaming building, we tell our students, many of whom are Rhode Islanders, that we value them and the very important time spent in the residence halls. Now our challenge is to continue this project," Carothers said.

The University's self-supporting Department of Housing and Residential Life is funding the initial part of the Freshman Village project with $22 million, including $20 million from a 30-year Rhode Island Health and Education Building Corporation (RIHEBC) bond issued in October 1999 and $2 million from other sources of capital. To support the remainder of the project, the University is seeking $22 million in general obligation bonds, as part of the total $36.9 million that will go before voters in November. Without approval of bond question number 4, the residence hall renovation project will stop after three buildings. The remaining $20 million will come from the Rhode Island Capital Fund.

Gov. Lincoln Almond said, "When I became governor in 1995 , I toured URI with President Carothers on a rainy day. I saw firsthand that URI had many needs - infrastructure, classrooms, dorms and the Convocation Center. Some people thought we should make improvements in phases. I believed that we should work on all of URI's needs simultaneously. We've done that. We've gone from years of neglect to meeting all of the University's priorities. One of the main concerns parents have when they visit a campus is the quality of the dorms. They want to be assured that their children are living in top-notch residence halls. Without question, this is an issue that impacts families and students. We all know that dorm life is a major part of the college experience. We want our URI students to have fond memories of these days."

Lester K. "Chip" Yensan, director of URI's Department of Housing and Residential Life, said the University asked the architects to create a functional, like-new interior environment and an aesthetic appeal so dramatic that it would make people stop and stare. Yensan said it was a 12-mointh project completed in eight months.

"Based on student and community reaction, it is safe to say those goals were accomplished," Yensan said. "We are very excited about this beautiful building transformation. We really have made something old, new again.

Students were involved in the building design process from the very beginning. We received student input through focus groups and active involvement on the building committee. We're pleased that we were able to incorporate so many student recommendations in this building renovation project.

"The most often asked question from students visiting the building is 'when is my building going to get renovated like this?' Those are the best compliments we could hope to hear," Yensan added. "It is a new source of campus pride to see this beautifully renovated building as you enter the residential village at URI. "

Student Senate President Robert Cormier said Barlow opened with a great deal of anticipation and has proven to meet the demands of students. "In comparison to the other dorms, Barlow begins to beautify and add value to our campus. The students feel at home and are excited to see the continuos improvement of our campus," said the Scituate resident.


For Information: Linda Acciardo 401-874-2116, Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116


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