Building on track to achieve LEED gold certification
After two years of construction, the Cuarto residential area finally opened its newest dorm up to the class of 2023: Yosemite Hall. The hall was intended to redevelop Webster Hall, which originally opened in 1965 and was torn down in 2017. This project aimed to increase the number of beds available to students and build a service center for all the residents of Yosemite Hall.
The Cuarto residential area is home to over 1,000 students and was designed to create an environment that fosters interaction and provide a unique suite-style of living, as opposed to traditional dorm halls. The design of Yosemite Hall was influenced not only by the Mogavero Notestine Associates, but also from an online survey that was conducted in 2015 with the past residents of Cuarto and Davis community members.
Yosemite Hall has a total occupancy of 390 students who are housed in both double and triple configurations — similar to many of the other dorms throughout campus. Each suite, however, does have its own bathroom. In addition, the hall offers an exclusive courtyard for residents to enjoy as well as the Cuarto computer and mail center within the first floor of the hall.
Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs for Housing, Dining and Divisional Operations Mike Sheehan detailed the purpose behind the design of Yosemite Hall as well as the new services incorporated within the building.
“We intentionally didn’t put living rooms into the mini-suites,” Sheehan said. “Instead we created community living rooms located throughout the floors. This results in a greater efficiency of square footage while also providing more space for group work and individual study space.”
Sheehan said Yosemite Hall is currently tracking to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification, an internationally recognized achievement that certifies environmentally efficient buildings.
“The entire buildings is electric, no gas,” Sheehan said. “Therefore, the [buildings’] carbon footprint is reduced. Additionally, there is a solar thermal system as part of the building to provide pre-heating for domestic hot water.”
Cuarto is different from the Segundo and Tercero areas because it offers a more personal dormitory experience; instead of separate bedrooms and a communal bathroom, it pairs two or three bedrooms with their own bathroom, resembling an apartment.
Hannah Bireschi, a second-year environmental science and management major, was a former resident of Emerson Hall. Bireschi described her experience in Cuarto.
“I really enjoyed living in a suite-style dorm,” Bireschi said. “I feel that it really prepared me for living in an apartment this year.”
Although living in a suite-style dorm has its perks, Bireschi also spoke about the social environment of Cuarto, saying it seemed “a lot quieter than other dorms.”
“My suitemates and I got along really well, but we didn’t make many connections with other people on our floor, which is something I noticed a lot of others did more,” Bireschi said.
Sheehan addressed the improvements made in terms of facilitating social engagement among the residents of Yosemite Hall.
“Yosemite will be home to the Student Organizations, Community, Involvement and Leadership (SOCIaL) program,” Sheehan said. SOCIaL is for you if you are interested in joining student organizations on campus and growing as a leader. SOCIaL will help you determine which academic, advocacy, arts and entertainment, community service, identity-based, fraternity or sorority, health and wellness, international, professional, recreation/sports or religious/spiritual student organization is right for you.”
Yosemite Hall is only the first of several new buildings Aggies will be seeing this academic year — here are the other on-campus construction projects for the next two years:
- Fall 2019 — the campus will open Latitude, a new dining facility in the Tercero residential area
- Fall 2020 — already under construction, The Green at West Village will add 1,000 beds in apartments for transfer and continuing students
- Fall 2021 — the next phase of The Green at West Village will add 2,300 beds in apartments for transfer students and continuing undergraduates
- Fall 2021 — construction on Shasta Hall, located in the Cuarto dorm area and meant to replace Emerson Hall, began this summer with the goal of opening a year early with 800 residence hall beds for new freshman students
Written by: Sneha Ramachandran — firstname.lastname@example.org