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CCU Atheneum: Tradition Hall has 328 beds, with 108 of them being honors beds.
Tradition Hall has 328 beds, with 108 of them being honors beds.

New residence halls: two down, two to go

by Mona Prufer
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Director of Housing Steven Harrison is like a proud parent when he shows off the just-opened residence halls – Tradition and Chanticleer. He walks around feeling for imperfections on the walls and bemoans the fact that the teal corkboards outside the upstairs suites will not, in fact, be teal but just plain corkboard for complicated reasons involving a warranty. He beams when he points to a framed area on a conference room wall that is painted in dry erasable paint so it can used as a whiteboard.

He loves the so-called “sticky spaces” in the downstairs lounge room and upstairs hallways, the knee-high walls with lots of outlets and chargers where students can sit and meet new friends. The washers and dryers that you can check online to see if they are available (a green machine) or in use; if in use, a timer counts down to tell you when it will be ready.

"This is pretty phenomenal,” he tells media, faculty and staff he takes around on tours of Phase I, the $34.4 million construction project that took 16 months to complete. Phase II, the remaining two halls, will be finished next spring and will open for students in the fall of 2016.

By now, he has given more than three-dozen “intentional” tours and another three dozen “unintentional” tours that just pop up spontaneously. He even walks his dog around the complex in the evenings to see how things are going and what needs to be done. He is super excited that the housing offices will all be located together in Tradition for the first time ever.

“My whole time here, we’ve been crammed into Kearns Hall and University Place,” says Harrison of his 62-odd staff. Plus, there are 79 resident assistants (RA), 40 student assistants and 200 student workers. “We haven’t been able to capitalize on the group dynamics since we've been so spread out. But now we can.”

“Before, when you walked out of your hall, you'd walk out onto pine straw, pavement or asphalt parking,” says Harrison, pointing to nicely sodded green spaces and brand new concrete sidewalks and a large front “porch” with an inlaid bronze Coastal Carolina University logo. “We’re trying to create a tradition by encouraging students not to walk over the logo until they graduate."

In addition to the plush living spaces with all the amenities – kitchens, convenience stores, free laundromats, lounges and study rooms with edgy but comfy furniture – a recreational pavilion will be bricked in by Halloween, along with seating, a volleyball court, basketball and more. A wrought iron archway will welcome visitors to the pedestrian-only residential complex complete with two ponds (with more turtles than the Wall pond!), big leafy trees and nice landscaping. Shuttles will carry students to and from their halls to campus and to their vehicles parked in the more remote residential parking lots like GG, located behind Baxley Hall and the Scholars Academy.

During our tour, an RA showed us around her suite, which houses eight students who share three sinks, two showers and two toilets in their suite bathroom. And cubbyholes for the grooming essentials – hot rollers, hair spray, texturing, makeup, etc. She was there early for Orientation. An all-gender bathroom is across the suite for visiting persons of the opposite sex. All suites are designed for the same gender, but genders can be mixed on the hallway. In other words, 10 girls might be across the hall from 10 boys.

"This building is awesome,” announced the RA as she erased a “Roll, Tide!” message (rally chant for University of Alabama athletics) that someone had scribbled on her door. “I thought it was a beach reference,” she told Harrison, who quickly set her straight.

Security has been heightened in the new residence halls. After 5 p.m., only resident students will be able to gain entry with a swipe of their CINO card. No one without a card will be able to get in. Harrison says the cost per door with the swipe card locking mechanism is $1,200 each.

"Pretty fancy, huh?” says Harrison, looking up from his cellphone for the first time in 15 minutes, just long enough to peel some sticker residue off a wall.


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