McKendall: Last three dorms to open in fall

NEW ORLEANS (Feb.21, 2013)-  The end apparently is in sight for the last Hurricane Katrina-related renovations on campus: Both Straight and the Camphor-Hartzell halls are expected to be complete and open by fall 2013, according to Keith McKendall, assistant vice president of Facilities.

Construction on Straight Hall originally was scheduled for completion last fall; then freshmen male students who were living in Gentilly Gardens were told they would move in at the start of the spring semester, but technical problems were found that had to be addressed, McKendall said.

As for Camphor-Hartzell, McKendall said renovations are expected to be complete in July, so it, too, should be open in the fall. Camphor will house female students, he said; who will reside in Hartzell has not yet been determined. All told, another 300 new beds will be available on campus.

Straight is 98 percent and already furnished. McKendall said students will see it was worth the wait.

“This is top of the line; it gets no better,” he said.

Construction has added new amenities such as an elevator, dorm suites, handicapped-accessible rooms and additional dorm space in what used to be the attic, meaning 75 students total can be housed, he said.  A new courtyard also was added to the rear of the building.

The third-floor rooms are larger and can house up to three students while the first two floors have two-person bedrooms.

In addition to new climate-control systems, new windows and two “hurricane-resistant” shelters, McKendall said Straight is now a “smart building” with key cards for building access.

Chadwick Hudson, a freshman financial economics major from Shreveport who is president of the Freshman Class, said he wasn’t surprised the dorm didn’t open as announced this semester despite the announcement by Residential Life because “it did not look like it would be complete when school let out for the winter break.”

McKendall said the work took a long time because the building is historic, which means any work requires cooperation National Park Service approval in addition to the renovation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.