New buildings offer new experiences

The Science and Technology Building, next to Kilby Laboratory School on Pine Street, opened to the public April 30. “This building brings us up to par with other universities,” said Instructor of Geology Melissa Driskell.

As the fall semester beckons students both new and old, the door to new opportunities opens for faculty and students.

With the additions of the Science and Technology Building next to Kilby Laboratory School and the two new residence halls — Mattielou and Olive, named for the streets on which they reside — the UNA community has much to look forward to in the 2015-2016 school year.

The new Science and Technology Building officially opened its doors for public viewing April 30.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Carmen Burkhalter said the building offers students more opportunities to learn in a lab setting, work hand-in-hand with professors and expand undergraduate research.

“This building brings us up to par with other universities,” said Instructor of Geology Melissa Driskell.

Among the benefits of the new building are labs built in a circular formation for a more group-style research method. Also, biochemists will now have access to NMR spectroscopy equipment to delve deeper into their research.

In March, Gov. Robert Bentley addressed UNA administration and the board of trustees praising, “The new Science and Technology Building will provide a modern instructional setting that prepares students for the future in the most current scientific techniques.”

While construction of the science facility is complete, students may still encounter hard hats and loud machines at the freshmen-only residence halls on Mattielou and Olive streets. The hall located on Mattielou is furthest along, and freshmen will be able to move into their rooms during the Aug.14 move-in date.

Director of Residence Life Kevin Jacques said Olive may not be finished until December. He said incoming freshmen not placed in Mattielou will live in Rivers Hall until construction is complete.

“I’m really excited about the features of the new residence halls,” said freshman Jenna Thigpen. “It all just seems really convenient. I think it’s cool we get to be the first ones to use them, too.”

Each floor is divided into two wings with one resident adviser being positioned on each wing, Jacques said. He said about 320 students can be housed in Mattielou’s four floors. The dual wing split is not the only fresh feature incorporated into the dorms.

“In between each of these rooms is the HVAC system,” Jacques said. “In Hawthorne in Covington (cluster halls), it’s actually in the bedrooms so every time (maintenance) has to change filters, they have to go in there and disturb the students. Here, it’s all in the hallway.”

Senior Darien Harris said he hoped Residence Life would consider putting larger trash cans in the bathrooms, however that request may not be necessary.

Different from Rice, Rivers and Lafayette halls, Mattielou and Olive offer each room its own bathroom complete with shower, toilet, sink and mirror.

“I like that the sink is outside of the bathroom,” Jacques said. “I can be brushing my teeth, shaving (or) whatever while my roommate is showering.”

The new dorms also include study areas on the ground floor and double the amount of laundry rooms of Rice or Rivers halls, as well as a receptionist area, lounge and game area. On each floor, a lounge area separates the two wings, with a large TV and a view overlooking the baseball field and football practice field.

“I think (these features) make staying on campus more appealing to incoming freshmen,” Thigpen said. “It’s cool to get to be a part of the changes going on at UNA. I can’t wait to live there.”