New dorms bring difference in opinion for residents


Von Lanier

Editors Note: This is one part of a two part story about the private/public partnership between EdR Collegiate Housing and Northern Michigan University.

The largest construction project in NMU history brings the arrival of the first phase of The Woods—a 1,228-bed student housing complex that will replace the Quad I and II dormitories at a cost of over $75 million, financed by EdR Collegiate Housing.

This public/private partnership (P3) between NMU and EdR has brought 417 new beds to campus so far, with the first phase of housing units that include Birch Hall West and Cedar Hall West, two of six wings that will make up the complex.

The new standard of campus living features “robust internet and WiFi capabilities, classrooms, study rooms, TV lounges and laundry facilities,” a recent EdR press release stated.

EdR also stated that a large patio area, fireplace and open lobby will be designed to accommodate university functions and other various types of entertainment for residents year-round.

NMU President Fritz Erickson reported at this year’s fall convocation that work has begun on The Lodge, which will become the lounge and gathering space available 24 hours a day to residents and non-residents alike. The Wahlbridge construction crews are also nearing completion of the Quad II satellite PEIF workout center that will be known as the Wildcat Fit Zone near the halls, Erickson said.

The six-wing facility will offer rooms that are 30 percent larger than what other housing units on campus offer as well as more privacy for students with 40 percent of the facility offering private bedroom units, Jeff Korpi, director of Housing and Residence life at NMU said in an interview with

While The Woods certainly offer a number of exclusive features for residents to enjoy, not all students have grown fond of the more lavish living standards. Students like sophomore social work major Raven Rooney, feel The Woods is missing that close-knit feeling that is transparent in other older dorms on campus.

“I don’t like it,” Rooney said, “I really don’t. I don’t like the learning environment. I don’t like the community. It’s just the first dorm I lived in, everyone’s door was always open—you could always just meet new people and you had paintings down the walls, the history, and the community, and you had a connection—you felt connected to other students.

re-NewDorms2Now, you walk into the dorms and it’s like you just go to class or you go to work and the doors just close right be- hind you—they lock right behind you. It’s not like you can just randomly walk by like ‘Hey I’m so and so, what are you studying? What are you doing?’”

Rooney added she feels like the new dorms are not worth paying more than the older housing units but despite her choice there are some pros to living in a new facility like the safeness of the environment.

“I think it’s a good dorm for students who just want to do their own thing—like very introverted. I think it’s for introverts. Not that I’m saying it’s bad but it just wasn’t for me. It’s not for me at all.”

On the flip side, students like senior English graduate bound major Caroline Davis, who also serves as a resident advisor for Birch Hall West said she is a lot more comfortable in the new dorms.

Davis said she enjoyed the idea of building a community from scratch, which was one of her biggest prompts for becoming an RA in the new facility.

“There’s the closing doors— they automatically lock behind you and it’s hard to build a community off of it but I really love everyone’s attitude about it because they really want to get to know people so it kind of pushes people harder to meet everyone.”

Davis also noted some sustainability features that the building provides for being LEED-certified.

“It’s just honestly a very good building to be a part of, helping to conserve energy,” Davis added.

The east wings of Birch and Cedar Halls are the next phase of The Woods projected to open in January.