First residents move into UCLA's new, state-of-the-art residence halls

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Although Abby Albright has enjoyed living in an apartment close to campus all summer, the third-year student is excited to move into her next place: the brand-new Sproul Landing.
 
Sproul Landing is one of a trio of new buildings just south of Covel Commons. The others are Sproul Cove, also a residence hall, and Sproul Presidio, a commons building.
 
The opening of Sproul Cove and Sproul Landing, which will collectively house about 850 students, is another major step toward UCLA's long-term plan to convert UCLA from a primarily commuter campus to a residential one. Since the latest phase began in 2008, four new residence halls have been built, adding more than 800 new rooms and 1,450 new beds. Forty percent of undergraduates live now on The Hill, up from 30 percent just five years ago. 
 
"Studies show that students who live on campus are better engaged with their academic pursuits and experience a better transition to college," said Angela Marciano, director of organizational planning, performance and development in UCLA Housing and Hospitality. 
 
Resident students also tend to be more involved with social activities and better connected to faculty, and report more satisfaction with their overall experiences with post-secondary education, according to Marciano. Improved educational and social programming, the faculty-in-residence program, a wider range of dining options and more leadership opportunities for students — including as residence assistants and representatives to Hill government — all have been results of the ongoing transition.
 
"We want to offer rich environments that foster students' engagement in in-class and out-of-class learning," said Suzanne Seplow, executive director of Residential and Student Life, noting that more than 11,000 undergraduates now live on The Hill. "Living on campus allows students to merge academics and learning experience, which promotes successful graduation and overall experience." 
 
Another major benefit of the five-year housing project has been the conversion of many of The Hill's triple suites to doubles. Up to 70 percent of Hill residents were part of three-person suites within the past five years; with the opening of Sproul Cove and Sproul Landing, the figure will drop to 54 percent.
 
"We've been able to de-densify a little bit, which I think will positively impact the overall student experience," Seplow said.
 
Sproul Cove and Sproul Landing
 
Sproul Landing laundry area
It's no wonder that UCLA students choosing their on-campus accommodations last spring made Sproul Cove and Sproul Landing the most desired residence halls for 2013–14. Those lucky enough to be among the buildings' first residents will find an array of amenities, including laundry machines that send text messages at the end of a wash or dry cycle. 
 
"Everyone wants to live in a new building," said Albright, a psychology major and residence assistant in Sproul Landing. "Everyone is ready to start new traditions in these buildings."
 
Like all new UCLA construction, the new residence halls and Sproul Presidio were created to be environmentally friendly. Low-flow toilets and shower heads save water; occupancy sensors, double-paned windows and ample natural light keep energy consumption down; and dual-stream trash chutes will let residents separate recycling from waste. The campus has applied for LEED Gold certification for the buildings.
 
Sproul Presidio
 
Sproul Presidio will house a 750-seat dining hall that follows sustainability best practices and offers fresh, high-quality food and a nutritionally balanced menu. The dining hall is scheduled to open during the fall quarter. The building also features the Palisades Room, a 6,700 square-foot multipurpose space complete with surround sound and state-of-the-art video screens, and room to seat 640 people theater-style. Above the dining hall is the Living Room, a casual 2,700 square-foot meeting space that opens to an outdoor patio with beautiful views of campus. In addition, a fitness room is planned for the building's ground level. It is expected to open during the 2014–15 academic year.   
 
The building will be renamed in honor of UCLA Chancellor Emeritus Albert Carnesale and his wife, Robin, during a ceremony on Oct. 16.
 
Still to come
 
Bruin Plate and Sproul Landing
Construction also continues elsewhere on The Hill, with the Hitch suites receiving some much-needed TLC. New siding and windows, improved landscaping and sidewalks, and the removal of some parking spaces to make way for a basketball court are all in the works. Another improvement at Hitch will be a new building for administrative and student use, which will house a community kitchen for students. The work is scheduled to be completed by September 2014.
 
In addition, Canyon and Delta will also see interior improvements over the next year, including repainting and rest room renovations. Canyon will be closed to residents until March 2014. Once work is complete, Delta residents will move into Canyon for the remainder of the academic year, and crews will begin making similar renovations to Delta.
 
"There is a balance of wanting to maintain affordability while also meeting the needs and desires of our students," said Seplow. "We're constantly trying to find that balance so that they enjoy living and learning here."
 
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