University takes on campus expansion

Two students visit in one of the new residence halls. Mattielou Hall and Olive Hall offer many amenities for freshman students.

Being the oldest four-year university in the state of Alabama, UNA has a wide variety of buildings on its campus that range from brand new to hundreds of years old.  

In the past two years, UNA broadened its campus with the Commons building, two residence halls, the Science and Technology building and plans for even more expansion.  

The Commons building arrived in Spring 2014, bringing new eateries for both students and the community, the UNA branch of the Listerhill Credit Union, the University Success Center  and the recent, much larger, campus bookstore.  The Commons building provided more parking, food choices and more space for students to meet up and hang out on campus.

“I think the commons was helpful to the campus because it spread out the lunch rush to two buildings rather than one,” said senior Logan Beaman.

The arrival of the Science and Technology Building in fall  2015 made it the largest building on UNA’s campus.  

The Science and Technology building will drive “the expansion of our stem programs and the launch of a four-year program in engineering technology,” said President Kenneth Kitts at the March 23 University Campaign Gala in March.

Mattielou Hall and Olive Hall have many luxuries for freshman students.

“I really enjoy the convenience of the little things like trash chutes, filtered water fountains and large closet spaces,” said freshman and Mattielou Hall resident Molly Timothy.  

The hangout spaces are perfect for doing homework or making new friends, Timothy said.

After years of student pleas for a new nursing building, there is funding coming in this semester from donors to begin planning a building solely for the nursing department at UNA, according to an article in the Jan. 21 issue of The Flor-Ala.  

“We (are) sharing the nursing building with social work and education,” said nursing major alumna Emily Russel.  “We really needed our own building.”  

Stevens Hall is the current home of the nursing department, but it only provides one floor of rooms.

“It would have been good to have another nursing lab or simulation room to practice in,” Russel said.

The nursing department is not the only department asking for more space and a new building.

The Human Environmental Science department is gaining their own  building in the coming semesters with the university’s purchase of the Keystone building in downtown Florence.

The Keystone building, less than a mile from campus, will not only bring plenty of room for the HES department, but also new parking spaces and more opportunities for the UNA campus to expand into downtown Florence, according to an article in the Feb. 26 issue of The Flor-Ala.

As plans for the nursing building and the Keystone building begin to unfold, students can expect to have new spaces for nursing and HES students in the 2016-17 school year.