LAFAYETTE — Lafayette will grow by a few thousand people starting Thursday as University of Louisiana at Lafayette students begin the move into their on-campus homes.
The university gave tours Wednesday of recently completed residence halls in an area known as the Rose Garden, where freshman students will be housed.
The new halls, named Coronna and Bonin, feature suite-style rooms where suite-mates will share bathrooms and a small microwave-kitchen space.
The new construction has allowed the university to begin grouping students by their semester classification level to create “neighborhoods.”
While freshmen students will be housed in the Rose Garden halls, sophomores and upperclassmen will be housed in residence halls that opened in the past year: Baker and Huger Halls. Legacy Park, on-campus apartments, will be reserved for upperclassmen.
Over the past two years, the university has increased its bed space, adding four new residence halls designed to foster community, with TV rooms and lounge areas on each floor to get students out of their rooms, said Richard Labranche, a senior studying broadcast communication from Maurepas.
Labranche, a resident adviser in Coronna Hall, led the tour of his new home. Some students have moved into the hall early because of their involvement in presemester activities and are taking advantage of the amenities, he said.
“It’s been great to see our students enjoying each other’s company, especially the freshmen, and to see them enjoy living on campus. That’s our goal,” he said.
The new housing allows the university to take the “neighborhood” concept a step further by grouping some students based on their interests or majors, university officials said.
The Rose Garden halls will house about 150 freshman in the university’s honors program as part of a “thematic” or “living” community, while about 20 freshman majoring in nursing will be grouped together as part of a “living-learning” community, said Dana Berkus, assistant director for the university’s Office of the First-Year Experience.
Berkus said the nursing students will be grouped in the same area of a residence hall and will take courses together as a cohort. Activities will also be planned for the students, she said. The honors students all have different majors, but will be grouped together in their residence hall, and special events will be planned to help engage them as a community, she said.
Last fall, the university began the “living-learning” community concept with freshman business majors. The goal is to continue to grow the communities by grouping students in close living proximity who have the same major or similar interests, Berkus said.
The honors program has its own building that includes a lounge and study area for its students, but the new living community will help foster a “family” atmosphere among the incoming students, said Julia Frederick, honors director.
The majority of on-campus residents begin moving in Thursday and classes begin Monday.
Jules Breaux, assistant housing director, said there are still a few beds available for those students still interested in on-campus living.