Ikenberry dining hall has seating on two levels.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
This fall, Kelsey Rozema and 150 other students moved into Timothy J. Nugent Hall, UI's first new residence hall in 44 years. Rozema and her 16 first-floor hall mates have severe physical disabilities but their new home is the most accessible residence hall in the nation.
Nugent Hall, and the new Student Dining and Residential Programs Building opened this semester in the Ikenberry Commons residence hall complex (named for former UI President Stanley O. Ikenberry), located between Gregory and Peabody drives and Fourth and First streets, in Champaign, just north of the Activities and Recreation Center. When construction of the remaining facility is complete, it will house 500.
Named for the pioneering founder of Disability Resources and Educational Services at Illinois, Nugent Hall has first-floor rooms designed for students with severe physical disabilities who require assistance with the activities of daily living. Rozema has a wireless pager that will connect her to an around-the-clock help contact, and there is a remote-controlled lift system to get her to the bathroom from her bed. There are sensor-controlled switches throughout the room; her door opens with a scan of her i-card. Features such as accessible elevators and lower dining hall counter heights create an inviting, friendly environment.
In addition to meeting the specialized needs of its first-floor residents, Nugent Hall had a lot of other expectations to meet.
Today's college students bring televisions, computers, gaming systems, more clothes and furniture to make their spaces on campus feel more like home.
The expectations of both parents and students have evolved. Whether it's the air-conditioned rooms, more bathrooms (one per five rooms), bigger spaces or the connection with the Student Dining and Residential Programs Building, a.k.a the "Ike," the new digs have students thinking about living on campus longer. University Housing provides resources and connections that simply can't be found off campus.
Visitors to the new residence hall not only like the look of the facility, but also the Ike, which includes a library, computer lab, coffee shop and quiet lounges for studying.
Each floor in Nugent Hall alternates rooms for men and women, as opposed to other halls that may have men on one end of a floor and women on another, or house the genders on separate floors.
Residents also like the Ike's 57 North store, which serves to-go items from mid-morning to late at night, and the Caffeinator, which brews gourmet espresso drinks and blends fresh fruit smoothies all day. The Ikenberry dining hall includes a two-story seating area and multiple food stations for baked goods, international cuisine, pizza and burgers, a salad bar and vegan options. Local produce from the on-campus student farm is served daily. Students from all over campus can use their meal plans at the Ike. And faculty and staff members can dine at the Ike (as well as any of the campus dining halls).
Part of the appeal of the new buildings comes from their sustainable features, such as trayless dining, which allows students all-you-can eat dining without the use of trays. The method, inaugurated two years ago and now standard in all dining halls on campus, has been proven to reduce food waste and electricity and water use.
The Ike also has a workout room, music practice rooms, space for Housing student organizations, and a learning commons with a computer lab and residence hall library.
Kirsten Ruby, assistant director of marketing for housing, said that Nugent Hall is the first step toward the UI's goal of having more updated campus accommodations.
"Students and parents are asking for additional amenities that weren't a priority when many residence halls were constructed," she said.
But living on campus is also part of the education students receive when they go away to school for the first time.
"A lot of students have never shared a room before," she said. "Part of sharing a space with someone is learning to get along with someone different."
As the UI continues its residence hall updates, the hope is that students will find connections and choose to live on campus for many of their years at Illinois.
Ruby said the master plan for Ikenberry Commons includes the replacement of six residence halls that have outlived their useful lives. Garner Hall will be demolished in summer 2012. In April 2011, the UI will break ground on a new suite-style residence hall on the corner of First Street and Peabody Drive.
What's in a name?
Nugent Hall was named for Timothy J. Nugent, an alumnus and later a professor whose efforts to serve people with physical disabilities reshaped the world.
In 1948, Nugent established the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services at the UI. It was the first post-secondary disability support service program in the world. DRES opened the doors to higher education to veterans of World War II.
He fashioned programs to address their physical needs, enabling them to attend college. His compassion fueled his ingenuity and sustained his commitment to overcome an unjust attitude of exclusion.
Innovations on the UI campus literally altered the landscape, introducing curb cuts to accommodate wheelchairs. The campus was the first to be accessible to people with disabilities. The UI built the first buses with lifts, established wheelchair sports and developed nationally recognized architectural accessibility standards, which led to the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Let's do lunch!
Did you know that faculty and staff members may dine at any of the residence hall dining facilities on campus?
The facilities, which include the Illini Union Ballroom buffet and specialty restaurants, will accept cash, credit cards or you can pay with extra credits on your i-card.
Dining Halls (hours & locations)
i-card extra credits