School and city officials joined with students at Queens College to mark the opening of its first residence hall, The Summit, with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Held in The Summit’s courtyard, the event celebrated 16 months of hard work and honored all involved with the project’s completion.
“The last few years have been the most rewarding of my life,” said Dr. James Muyskens, President of Queens College, during the ceremony on Wednesday, September 30.
The Summit is a five-story building with fully furnished two- and four-bedroom suites. The hall has 506 beds – 17 for resident assistants and 489 for students. Student amenities include wireless Internet, a laundry facility, soundproof music practice rooms and quiet rooms for study.
Officials hope the residence hall will transform the campus into a richer learning institution and give potential students a reason to give Queens College a closer look.
“I am confident that with The Summit here we will improve our graduation and retention rates,” Muyskens said.
A lack of dorms can make attracting students, teachers and scholars difficult for any college, but now many feel Queens College will offer the kind of college experience that prospective students and faculty come to expect.
“A sense of place is critically important to the college experience,” said Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor at the City University of New York (CUNY).
Already a top commuter school, Queens College can benefit from the addition of a residence hall by attracting students that want to go away to school, but who don’t necessarily want to travel too far from home. In addition, some students only need the promise of not sitting in traffic or having to catch a bus.
“I love being able to sleep late and not worry about commuting,” said Brianne Dorato, 20, a junior at Queens College.
Students also believe that having a real college experience means enjoying a sense of community with their fellow students, even if they are just gathering for a video game tournament.
“It’s a great place to meet other students,” said Janelle Napoleon, 18, a freshman. “It’s a place we can share ideas and just basically hang out with each other.”
More than just a place to hang out, The Summit is credited with being built to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design requirements for silver certification. This means that the residence hall uses resources more efficiently, making it a healthier work and living environment.
For the developers, it was crucial to acknowledge the special needs of the times when planning this project.
The $72 million project was financed without public funds through tax-exempt bonds and constructed by the Capstone Development Corp. It opened to students on August 26 for the 2009 fall semester.