Oakland University’s Hillcrest Hall is the Future of Campus Dorms

Construction on the Newest Addition to Student Housing at Oakland University Underway

Hillcrest Hall is scheduled to open its doors to students in fall of 2018, seamlessly combining school activities, such as meals, study time, socialization, and workouts, within the same space as their living quarters. Construction is well underway at Oakland University (OU) on this new seven-story building.

Hillcrest Hall Artist Rendering

Hillcrest Hall Artist Rendering

Hillcrest is the first student housing to appear on the south side of the campus. All the other student housing complexes are located on the north side of the campus including the popular Oakview Residence Hall which is a 500-bed facility dedicated to Honors College students, both freshmen and upperclassmen.

Micro Restaurant Artist Rendering

Micro Restaurant Artist Rendering

The main entrance at Hillcrest will have a plaza along the roadside with outdoor tables and trees for an outdoor café feel. Upon entering the lobby, visitors will immediately see the mix of residential and academic activities at the heart of the building. In addition, there will be a 100-seat convenience and sandwich shop, with a barista, that will offer artisan food.

The use of glass will allow people to see the large area, which includes The Monumental Staircase at the heart of the building. The staircase will have steps running down on one side and the other side will be space designated for lounges and places for students to sit and enjoy the expansive center of the building.

“This is a space you will never have to leave,” said Jim Zentmeyer, Director of Student Housing. “We blur the lines between academic and residential space. We are no longer a commuter campus and students are really embracing the changes.”

International Food Station Artist Rendering

International Food Station

The 400-seat dining hall follows the pod concept. A Grill and Barbeque cooking station will be surrounded with picnic tables, the Italian style area will offer booth seating with trellises above for an authentic feel, and a G8 Station will offer an allergen-friendly area. Traditional home cooking, deserts, and more cuisines will be set up to create more community areas as opposed to a massive dining hall. Twenty-foot tall windows look out over the valley and woodlands.

Beyond this area is a 200-seat multipurpose room for programs and activities. If the dining area is full, this area can also serve for additional space. Underneath the Monumental Staircase is room for private dining for up to 78 people, which can be used by the public for meetings and gatherings.

Salad Bar Artist Rendering

Salad Bar Artist Rendering

Hillcrest Hall features four general-use academic classrooms that offer approximately 200 seats. The registrar will decide which classes will be held in these rooms. They will be available for general use between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and then during the evening hours they will be used for tutoring and a place for future teachers to practice presentations and lectures. The classrooms feature the latest smart technology including smart podiums.

The recreation center will have over 30 pieces of equipment. “Oakland University Rec Well staff will be here when they open, supervising and offering instruction and advice” said Zentmeyer. “All students and staff can access this location. Glass windows will look over the dining area with the treadmills looking directly over the desert bar. TVs will be on the other side.”

There will be 750 beds in the hall within secure areas that only residents can enter. Each floor has lounges where people can meet, laundry facilities, and trash and recycling centers. There are also kitchens with stoves, ovens, refrigerators, microwaves, and dishwashers where students can make meals together.

Photo of the southside of Hillcrest Hall during construction

Construction on the Newest Addition to Student Housing at Oakland University Underway – photo by Michael Dwyer

“The suites are outfitted with furnishings and counters and the ADA suites are exactly the same so that there is no space envy,” said Zentmeyer. They are fully fire suppressed, have heat and smoke sensors tied to the OU Police Department, and there will also be a night watch, security, cameras, and door alerts” to keep students safe.

Inside view of a Bedroom and Loft Bed, desk, and window

Bedroom and Loft Bed – photo by Michael Dwyer

The dorm rooms were designed based on student input. The preference is for a small private room for one. Each suite has four single bedrooms and one large gathering room. A shower and storage area are on one side of the suite and a toilet is on the other side. The gathering area include kitchen cabinets, a sink, and a microwave on one side of the space which leaves room on the other side for couches or tables that the students provide.

The bedrooms are equipped with modern modular furniture that allows for a flexible configuration. Residents may choose to have the bed in a down position, or to maximize space, that may put it in an up position that creates more space using a loft bed.

Students having the highest credits will receive first pick for their suitemates; and students may make choices based on birth gender and self-identity gender.

Each suite has its own controls for heating and cooling and all the rooms are hardwired for internet. Zentmeyer explains, “The residential network purchased a new million-dollar firewall for the traffic we are expecting. We are transitioning from coaxial to having all communications over IP in all of the residence halls.” Each student will have a Comcast account that is included.

Illustrated floor plan of a Hillcrest Hall Private Suite Dorm Room

Hillcrest Hall Private Suite Dorm Room

“We are tickled pink with this building. We have made a very concerted effort to reach out to our community population and we will be doing the same thing for transfer students,” said Zentmeyer. Eight credits are the minimum qualification to live in campus housing and students must first be admitted to OU before applying for housing.

Aerial View Artist Rendering

Aerial View Artist Rendering

Artist Renderings and Floor Plan Provided by Oakland University

About Sonya Julie

Sonya Julie is a Freelance Writer and Life Coach. She Writes about Health & Healing, Fitness & Yoga, Food & Paleo, as well as Travel & Adventure, and Community. Visit Sonya's Website, Sonya Julie Exploring Life.

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