CULLOWHEE – “Well worth the wait.” That’s how residents of Western Carolina University’s recently opened Norton Road Hall describe their new campus home after weather-related construction delays postponed move-in day by about 10 days.
“Everyone agrees that it was definitely worth waiting for,” said Vidal Flores, a junior from Asheville who works as a resident assistant in the hall. “Everyone likes the fact they have plenty of space, and they like the privacy of having only one or two people to a room. And having rooms with air conditioning is a big plus.”
University officials originally expected the first two floors of the 290-bed Norton Road Hall to be ready for occupancy in time for the annual Freshman Move-In Day on Saturday, Aug. 20, with the top two floors finished a few weeks later. Near record rainfall over the summer, however, pushed back the opening of the hall to Sept. 3.
In the face of rising gas prices, many students opted against traveling during the Labor Day holiday, deciding instead to take advantage of the long weekend to move their belongings from temporary campus housing into their new rooms in Norton Hall. Nearly half of the residents had begun relocating within hours after the doors were open Saturday morning, said Keith Corzine, director of residential living.
“We had about 150 students move within the first three hours alone,” Corzine said. “With the help of our staff, as well as volunteers from the university community and members of the students’ families, we were able to get everyone into their new rooms with very few problems.”
A $9.7 million project, the four-story building is the third new student residential facility to be built at Western in the past two years to help meet demand for housing on a campus that has seen its enrollment jump by 16 percent during that same period. Designed with significant input from students, the new facility features a large number of single rooms, along with semi-private bathrooms, multi-purpose living rooms, classroom space and expanded study areas, small kitchen areas, wireless computing networks and an on-site convenience store.