August 24, 2015
Freshman Jillian Wilschke, a resident of the renovated Botsford/Swinford Residence Hall, most likes the building's windows, the views from her room and the study lounges.
Like many incoming freshman, Jillian Wilschke's mind in early August was occupied with what it would be like to live on a university campus. "What do I need to bring?" "What will my roommate and neighbors be like?" "What will we do for fun?"
The main difference for her is she’ll have contemporary furnishings, suite-style bathrooms, even a demonstration kitchen in the main lounge, like on all the cooking shows.
"I opened the door to my room and was so excited to think I'll be the first one living here," the 18-year-old said about moving into Ball State's newly renovated Botsford/Swinford Residence Hall. "Everything is brand new."
Alan Hargrave, director of housing and residence life, said a closer look at the new features of the $35.7-million building reveal how it was designed with eco-conscious millennials in mind.
"Today's students care about the social and environmental impact they'll have on the world, " Hargrave said. "Those feelings extend to their attitudes about where they're going to live."
Wilschke agrees. "I found out they have recycling and features like revolving doors to cut down on energy costs, so it's like Ball State's trying to make this building give back, not just sit here."
Additional features of Botsford/Swinford, like water bottle refilling stations and efficient lighting, add to its environmental friendliness, complementing the university-wide geothermal heating and cooling system. Those are all reasons the residence hall, which is half of Johnson Complex, is on the fast track to becoming the eighth LEED certified building on campus.
Amenities for living and learning
The renovated building houses approximately 600 students—about 200 more than it previously accommodated. Most moving in are freshmen like Wilschke taking part in Ball State's Emerging Media and Communications Living-Learning Communities. By grouping students with similar interests together, LLCs help them make connections inside and outside the classroom.
Botsford/Swinford houses about 600 students in an eco-friendly residence hall tailored to students in Emerging Media and Communications.
"It's great to think I'll be living down the hall from so many people I can study and walk to class with," said Wilschke, a public relations major.
Botsford/Swinford was designed with these students in mind, offering amenities such as multipurpose rooms with green screens, mediascapes for educational collaboration and an eye-catching demonstration kitchen equipped with video cameras to record cooking shows.
The building is also the latest to make use of another sustainability initiative championed by Ball State: the Lotus Pro green cleaning system, used to clean surfaces in all nine university residence hall complexes. A toxin-free alternative to chemicals, it infuses water with ozone, harmless to humans but deadly to germs, mold and other contaminants, and leaves behind only oxygen and water.
"It's another example of how Housing and Residence Life is finding ways to support Ball State's commitment to sustainability as part of our strategic plan," said Hargrave.
Using the system is also fiscally responsible. Hargrave noted it will save 64 percent—about $286,000 annually—in cleaning product costs.
5 new or renovated residence hall complexes
Square footage: 164,176
Rooms: 293 (576 beds; prerenovation the building had 402 beds)
Cost: $35.7 million (building and renovation projects are funded by the housing and dining reserve budget, not the state)
Namesakes: Frances R. Botsford and Basil M. Swinford, two professors involved with Ball State during its early history.
In the past decade, Ball State has opened five new or extensively renovated residence hall complexes: Park Hall (2007), DeHority Complex (2009), Kinghorn Hall (2010), Studebaker East (2012) and Botsford/Swinford (2015). Renovation is underway for Schmidt/Wilson, adjacent to Botsford/Swinford and the other half of Johnson Complex, with completion scheduled for fall 2017.
Hargrave said 6,000 students are expected to move into the residence halls for the 2015-16 academic year. Renovations to Botsford/Swinford were completed on time, and there are no issues with overcrowding for the fall term.