It's not the suite life, but it's not too shabby, either.
The college dorm room, once barely more than four walls, a desk and a bed, has evolved dramatically, with many American universities in recent years offering students suite-style rooms replete with kitchens and bathrooms and lounge areas.
The University of Pittsburgh's newest residence hall is a little more retro.
Mark A. Nordenberg Hall, which will welcome students on Monday when freshmen start arriving on campus for orientation, is a modern version of what, for some schools, is an older style of residence hall.
Instead of large, apartment-style suites, the 10-story, $59 million building contains small rooms designed for two or three students, with lounges, study spaces and communal bathrooms and showers on each floor.
The concept behind the design of the hall, which will house 543 freshmen and 16 upperclass resident assistants, was to encourage students to stay not just within their individual rooms, but to engage in their residence hall community and in the larger university community.
"This is a generation that could easily stay in their room," said Kathy Humphrey, Pitt's vice provost and dean of students, referring to the constant availability of entertainment through phones and computers.
But, she said, their research has shown that freshmen who feel they are part of a community at Pitt are more likely to return as sophomores, and more likely to be successful in their college careers. The dorm's design -- with space both for quiet study time and for interaction -- is meant to send the message that students should study but also get involved.
This morning, Ms. Humphrey and other university officials gave a tour of the building's third floor, pointing out lounges where she said alumni could visit to give talks to current students about their professions.
The building also contains a fitness center, two music practice rooms and an indoor bike storage area. A rooftop terrace on the third floor will have chairs and tables.
Students will live on floors three through 10, with the first two floors containing a PNC Bank office and the university pharmacy, health and counseling centers.
The building may represent a throw-back residence hall design for Pitt, but it does include the modern amenities of air conditioning, wireless Internet, and a television, microwave and refrigerator in each room.
Students living in a two-person, 250-square foot room in Nordenberg will pay $3,400 a semester, compared to $3,370 for the average room on Pitt's campus.
Students, it seems, like the Nordenberg Hall concept.
Pitt allows students to submit their residence hall preference, and of the six residence halls that house approximately 3,800 incoming freshman, the most requested this year was Nordenberg.
Kaitlynn Riely: firstname.lastname@example.org. This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/ First Published August 16, 2013 8:30 PM