Priory offers student new living opportunity

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Story by Nicole Miller, Staff Writer

Students are being offered a new and different housing option for next fall.  The Priory Residence Hall is set on 112 mostly wooded acres of land located about three miles from the central campus. Formerly a Catholic Monastery, it was purchased by the university and is now home to the children’s center and will house 22 students this fall.

Dr. Beth Hellwig, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, said the new residence hall will present a unique opportunity to the students.

“When we first saw the building I thought right away that there could potentially be a great residential life setting and I think this is going to be a great opportunity for some very lucky students,” she said.

The Priory is about a six minute car drive from campus.  The nature academy has a shuttle that runs from 6:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. making departures back and forth from Kjer Theatre to
the Priory.

Quincy Chapman, assistant director of housing and residence life for leadership education, said the ideal student to live at the Priory is going to be one who has some flexibility.

“If they have a car they are going to enjoy the experience more than a student who would rely only on other forms of transportation,” Chapman said. “Students will be able to purchase an “R” permit and will be given a discount rate of $150 a year. The permit will double both at the Priory and on campus.”

Students will have three different styles of room options. Sixteen are single rooms with a sink inside. Four are suite-style rooms that have a bathroom connecting the two rooms together.  Two additional rooms have a private bath attached.

One of these will be used by the resident assistant.

There are 18 total single rooms left on campus at the moment.  A housing demand study that was conducted as part of the campus master plan showed that Eau Claire’s current housing capacity is 108 percent. Students occupy all of the residence halls plus study lounges and converted living spaces. There are also 150 students living in hotels.

Mike Rindo, assistant chancellor for facilities and university relations, said the Priory may be a little bit of a solution for overflow in the dorms. But he also said it will not fix the overflow problem.

“It is a very idyllic setting that provides students with a unique housing option than is available on campus,” he said. “There are so few private rooms available, the only place we have with considerable private rooms is Chancellors Hall and there’s some in Towers Hall as well.”

A student will be able to have a private room at a cost that would be equal to the rate of a double room on campus.

A lottery will be used and a random drawing of names will determine the order number that a student can register for rooms until all the rooms are signed up for.

Freshman broadfield social studies major Susan Kloos attended the first open house on Feb. 18 and signed up to be in the lottery.

“It’s nice out here, it’s more like home, I grew up in the country,” she said.  “I don’t mind the distance because I have a car.”

The next two open houses are scheduled for 5 p.m. Feb. 26 and March 7. Interested students can tour the Priory and sign up for the lottery.