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
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
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,"
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
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,
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