State-of-the-art dormitories to open in August

Miner+Canyon+student+will+feature+83+units+able+to+house+approximately+352+students.+

Michaela Roman

Miner Canyon student will feature 83 units able to house approximately 352 students.

Juan Raygoza, Staff Reporter

Come this fall, the brand-new Miner Canyon student housing complex will be ready for students to move in.

As part of a $23-million project, the new dormitories will feature 83 units able to house approximately 352 students in bedroom residences that will range from single-person efficiencies to four and six-bedroom suites for students to live in.

Charles Gibbens, director of housing, said the new and ambitious project will be ready by late July. He also said the entire project cost of $23 million dollars includes the site preparation, construction and all the furnishings as well.

The only requirement to live in Miner Canyon will be the same as it is with Miner Village and Miner Heights–being a registered UTEP student. However, during the summer the university receives students who come to do research from other countries and they are allowed to get housing during the summer because there are a lot of vacancies during that time.

These new dormitories will be available to students and athletes equally and will not have any special preferences to athletes as has been rumored. However, with that being said, the athletic department requires all first-year scholarship athletes to live on campus, so housing and the athletic department do work closely to reserve spaces for those student-athletes.

Miner Canyon will not be a traditional dormitory as the ones that already exist on campus. The facility will have many special features, or as Gibbens says, “state-of-the-art student housing.” According to Gibbens, national research has shown that students graduate at a higher rate when they live on campus because of the positive peer pressure that exists. The design of this facility will be specifically to have the old features of student dormitories, but coupled with the new living-learning laboratories. The lobby area will be a place where everybody can interact and will be equipped with TVs, dry-erase boards and movable furnishings.

The purpose of this lobby area, according to Gibbens, is to have a lot of community space so students can get to know each other and mingle with each other. These lobby areas will make study areas a lot more efficient than those available in the other housing complexes. Also at the end of each floor will be individual study rooms.

All rooms will be fully furnished they will be equipped with wireless application protocols (WAP) for every two students, Internet protocol television service, three different study areas on each floor equipped with 70-inch TV monitors, which will be useful to practice presentations or work on group projects, a computer lab and printing stations.

“Everything we do is about developing an environment that is conducive to academic success,” Gibbens said.

Although these apartments were designed in collaboration with students, faculty and staff at the university to better fill students, some current students at UTEP felt those funds could have served a better purpose.

Senior metallurgical engineering major Pedro Cruz said that it would be better to invest those millions on labs or maybe reducing the cost of tuition.

“A clear example is the department of metallurgy, classrooms and laboratories are ancient there,” Cruz said. “In fact this semester they canceled two labs for lack of equipment.”

Cruz also said the prestige of UTEP will be higher with these state-of-the-art dormitories, but he said there are a lot of things that need improving at UTEP as well.

Senior multimedia journalist Daniel Alvarez said he would surely enjoy living in a high-tech dormitory complex at least for a semester before he graduates.

“I live at home, but it would be cool to live in that new dormitory just to be from the first generation to do so,” Alvarez said. “I’ll inform myself when the project is finished.”

Juan Raygoza may be reached at [email protected]