The always changing and ever-growing campus of SNHU recently opened its most ambitious building to date with Kingston Hall.
Ribbon cuttings feel routine for students at this point. Campus President Patty Lynott recognized this in her opening remarks, noting that for the past fifteen years SNHU has opened at least one new building every year.
“Most people don’t realize how many people worked how many hours to get to this point. We put up buildings faster than any organization, not just a school’s. I am talking companies. We put them up quickly and that takes a village,” said Lynott
One could say SNHU has gotten pretty good at building by now.
Student reception to the building seems to back that claim up. This is evident when one walks by the floor-to-ceiling windows and sees students, many of them residents of other buildings, hanging out in the lobby and enjoying the amenities.
“As soon as I see students walking in through the door their eyes just light up… they feel like they really lucked out getting assigned to this space,” said Elaina Hill, assistant director of student learning and leadership.
The lower community area, which is open to all students, is decked out with pool and shuffleboard tables, a kitchen, televisions, breakout-friendly workspaces, a Penmen Print-enabled printer and even classrooms.
“Campuses are intentional communities. The old model was your dorm over here and your academic buildings over there,” said University President Paul LeBlanc.
It’s been a new trend in college housing to incorporate student learning into residence halls. The concept has been played with in Tuckerman and Monadnock common areas and has achieved great success. As a result, Kingston will be home to some traditional classes.
Residents of Kingston may also notice some especially green additions to the building. For example, the showers shut off after thirty minutes and each room has a light dimmer and its own thermostat. Each room’s energy usage can be tracked on a touch screen in the main lobby, and Residence Life intends to incorporate the statistics into “Floor Wars,” a competitive tradition in residence halls.
This environmentally conscious attitude pairs nicely with the panoramic views afforded by the upper floors.
“If you go all the way to the end of the hall on the fifth floor you get the see the Merrimack River. Its beautiful,” said Katie Snipes (’21), a fifth floor resident assistant.
The $320 million dollars SNHU has spent on the Hooksett campus is no small sum, however the highly successful COCE online education program can often overshadow the campus operations of the university.
“I think we are passionate about student success and the transformational power of education. For those coming out of high school, their living situation is a big part of that coming of age [and] discovering who you are,” said LeBlanc. “[This dorm] is emblematic of an ongoing and very substantial commitment that the board has and that we have to traditional undergrad education.”