Brian Kelly (@brpkelly)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Saint Louis University has opened its first new residence hall in nearly two decades.

Declaring it a “historic day,” university President Dr. Fred Pestello was one of a dozen dignitaries cutting the ribbon on Spring Hall, a $43.8 million, eight-story building that will house 454 students.

“We have a campus that’s been recognized for its beauty,” Pestello says. “Under (former university President) Father Biondi’s leadership, there were many investments across the campus. It’s now time that we turn to our residence halls. … It was based on students’ input. Students were clamoring for a new hall, and they helped us design this to better meet their needs.”

The students’ input can be seen before one even enters the building.

Outside, near the entrance, sit two gas-fed fire pits.

At the corner of a plaza named after alum and longtime university staff member Mary Bruemmer, is a small theater-style classroom, complete with a large television.

“We see a lot of faculty members teaching classes over by the clock tower and the fountain,” says Housing and Residential Life Director Melinda Carlson. “I think with the weather in St. Louis, and the need for folks who want to be outside, we thought we could integrate that in this space, as well.”

Carlson says the space can be used as a fully functional classroom or a theater. When it’s not being used for teaching, students can play their video games on the TV.

Take a quick tour of Spring Hall:

 

Inside, in addition to single and double rooms, there are plenty of brightly colored and furnished places for students to get together and learn.

“Students very much wanted lounge areas where they could gather informally or get together to study together,” Pestello says. “They wanted to have classrooms in the building so they could actually take courses here.”

So Carlson says, “We have classrooms integrated into the building. We have two learning communities that will be housed in the building. There is a chapel. There’s conference room space, lots of common space on the floors, and even living rooms to make the students feel like home.”

“We want to meet the needs of our students,” Pestello says, “and this building will do this.”

The ribbon-cutting comes as work continues on another new residence hall nearby. Grand Hall is scheduled to open next August. And the dorms will be open only to first- and second-year students.

Pestello says the University will look at renovating older residence halls. He says if some are beyond renovation, they’ll be closed.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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