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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Students sing praises of new residence hall

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

Campus to hold grand opening Saturday, Oct. 27

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 26, 2012 –Lounges for studying and socializing are just about everywhere you look. Courtyards and rain gardens are beautiful and functional. A four-story glass bridge that connects the two wings of Hillside Hall adds sparkle to the south end of the residential section of campus, whether day or night.




The University of Rhode Island community will celebrate all of those features and more when it holds its formal opening and ribbon cutting for Hillside Hall, the $42 million, 429-bed residence hall Saturday, Oct. 27 at 9:30 a.m. in the building’s courtyard, 140 Campus Ave.

“There are a lot of places for us to do work together, and there’s also the giant sky lounge on every floor, so that’s where everybody can come together,” said Joe Walter, a freshman pharmacy major from Bayonne, N.J.

“We’re really excited to be able to study in the new study rooms,” said Beth Aldrich, a freshman pharmacy major from Coventry, “They’re so nice.”


“It’s really eco-friendly,” said Billie Burke, a freshman medical laboratory science major from West Warwick, “It looks so much bigger and the ceilings are a lot higher.”

The 120,000 square-foot structure is located at Campus Avenue, north of Fraternity Circle and east of Barlow Hall. The five-story east wing is exclusively residential, while the four-story, west wing’s first floor is home to the Housing and Residential Life Offices. No taxpayer funds were used to construct the most energy efficient residence hall on campus.

“This striking new residence hall is perfectly consistent with our strategic plan and transformational goals in that it provides for 24/7, multidisciplinary and global learning opportunities in a comfortable, sustainable setting,” URI President David M. Dooley said. “Not only does this building enhance learning among the occupants, it will also help teach our students the importance of environmental sustainability, which will be essential in the decades to come.”

Hillside Hall serves as a living-learning community for pharmacy, nursing and international students, all of whom moved during Columbus Day weekend.

The University is seeking LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification. Sixty-four solar panels provide hot water for the facility, sun shading fixtures and window vents keep the rooms comfortable while still allowing in generous amounts of light, and landscaping controls and filters storm water before it finally enters White Horn Brook to the west of the campus.

“There are water fountains and you can fill up your water bottle on each floor, so that’s great,” said Walter. “And then in the basement there are 12 washers and dryers, so I don’t think we’ll have to worry about waiting for laundry.”

The new building houses 12 study lounges in its west wing and 15 in its east wing, as well as nine small, gathering spaces in each hallway. A strong architectural feature is the four-story, glass-faced bridge linking the two wings. The structure offers connecting stairways and two-story lounges with outstanding views of the exterior courtyards.

The design of Hillside Hall, which features no-touch water bottle refilling stations and generous use of available light, also recognizes traditional pedestrian traffic to and from Fraternity Circle, the campus’ academic center and other residential neighborhoods with enhanced and enlarged concrete walkways.

The exterior consists of brick, wood, metal and glass, with the brick complementing the surrounding residence halls, and the wood veneer is consistent with the surrounding woods to the east.
Hillside Hall replaces the Terrace Apartments, a dreary, four-building, 54-bed complex on the site of the original quarry where granite was hewn for URI’s oldest buildings, Taft, Davis and Lippitt halls. Some of that granite, excavated during site preparation for Hillside, is now part of the landscaping.

“When you consider what was here before, a small, old housing complex that made poor use of the space, you can see the dramatic contrast of a very dense housing facility with excellent design, both exterior and interior,” said Robert A. Weygand, vice president for Administration and Finance. “The old site was overgrown, not very attractive, and now we have this wonderful facility that provides much more housing, but also creates beautiful common spaces, outside and inside the building.”

Thomas R. Dougan, vice president for Student Affairs, said he has already heard from many students about how much they enjoy the new residence.

“I am proud that URI has been able to provide such an excellent environment to learn and live for our students. All members of our team did an outstanding job putting student needs at the top of the list in designing and constructing this building. Hillside Hall is another example of how URI is trying to build a vibrant, spirited and effective campus community.”


Hillside Hall Fact Sheet

• Cost--$42 million, no taxpayer funding used to finance. Financed by revenue bonds, which are paid off by students who use University facilities.
• 429-beds, five stories.
• Glass bridge connects four stories of each wing in H design.
• Living, learning community for pharmacy, nursing and international students.
• About 6,200 undergraduate students, including 2,803 freshmen live in the University’s 24 on campus residence halls, suites and apartments, the 17 sororities, fraternities and specialty houses on campus.

Ground floor features:
• Lowest level in glass bridge designated for open recreation.
• Living-learning classroom with separate entry for campus-wide access and use.
• Unique on-site water management system, featuring rain gardens with bands of crushed stone and natural grasses.
Riverstone bands collect water from building downspouts and feed water into the rain gardens and water retention areas. These features prevent downstream flooding and filter water before it reaches White Horn Brook.
• Courtyards feature permeable pavers and complement interior flooring surfaces to enhance openness.
• Landscaping is accented with fieldstone walls, new deciduous and flowering trees.

Entry sequence, entrance floor plan
• Multi-purpose room near main entrance includes serving kitchen for large group functions.
• Central floor lounges located in bright and lively building bridge connecting two wings.
• Lounges accented with fireplaces.

Upper Floors
• Designed for freshman and sophomore clusters.
• Each cluster has a small lounge that can be used for studying or socializing.
• Bridge connector incorporates balconies to increase natural ventilation and views of lounges below.
• Each floor includes recycling centers, common message boards and small kitchen areas.

Environmental elements
• Building employs natural ventilation with operable windows in all bedrooms and lounges.
• Project constructed to LEED Silver standards, which includes high levels of recycled content, obtained regionally.
• Rain gardens reduce need for huge underground water retention systems
• Green roof at building connector bridge.

Architects/Contractors
• Lerner Ladd + Bartels Architects of Providence designed the building, in collaboration with three Rhode Island firms: Odeh Engineers Inc. (structural), Pare Corp. (civil), and Creative Environments Corp. (mechanical/electrical).
• Contractor—KBE Building Corp., Farmington, Conn.

Pictured above

A SPARKLING BRIDGE: This is a view of the glass bridge that connects the east and west wings of Hillside Hall.

A BIG HELPING HAND: Joe Walter, freshman URI pharmacy major of Bayonne, N.J. in the foreground gets a big hand from URI staff as he moves into Hillside Hall.

GETTING SETTLED: Three URI freshmen pose while moving into Hillside Hall. From left are, Sima Janoudi, a pharmaceutical sciences major of Pawtucket, Nada Elgabrouny, a pharmacy major of Cairo, Egypt and Sarah Janoudi, a biology major of Pawtucket.
URI Marketing & Communications photos by Michael Salerno Photography.