New students find home at Residence

Credit: Michael Kahn/Forum Editor Credit: Michael Kahn/Forum Editor

As students arrived at Carnegie Mellon last week, about 90 first-years moved into a new dorm, the Residence on Fifth, located at 4700 Fifth Ave. The latest addition to the Oakland community, the Residence has been favorably received for its “spaciousness, newness, and welcoming atmosphere,” according to Dawn Wang, the community advisor for the Residence. Nicknames such as “the Res” and “the Ritz” have already surfaced to pay homage to the relative grandeur of the dorm.

As a part of the first-year community, the 90 students in the Residence have begun to bond over Orientation activities and event planning. For example, during the first week of classes, the Res will host a “Year One Week One” event on Tuesday night. The theme will be “Taste of Craig Street,” certain to attract more first-years to experience the new building for themselves.

“It’s definitely a desire that our residents take ownership of exploring different communities that we have the opportunity to be a part of, and we can see that there have been steps taken in that direction already,” said Harold Kim, a resident assistant for the Residence.

Besides the novelty of the new dormitory, there are many features for first-years to enjoy. The Res is five stories tall and has air-conditioning and functioning fireplaces; most students are currently living in triple rooms. The building has complete access to wireless Internet. Inside, there is a round-the-clock service desk and the offices of several Housing and Dining members.

“There are several lounges,” said John Hannon, the current housefellow for the Residence on Fifth, “including a piano lounge, exercise room, and club room.”

Perhaps the most intriguing amenity to students is the movie theater in the mezzanine level of the building that is equipped with theater-style reclining chairs with cup-holders and a flat-screen television. A sit-down dining area offered by CulinArt is anticipated for the spring semester — the first Carnegie Mellon dining location in Oakland, as well as a technology and collaborative learning center. These features are expected to prove useful to the entire Oakland community.

In regards to reported concerns over the lack of furniture due to a factory delay, all rooms were equipped last Monday with beds, dressers, and appliances. By last Wednesday, the desks, filing cabinets, and dining room tables had arrived. The phone lines have also been removed from rooms so that students will be encouraged to speak on cell phones and community phones.

Formerly the Forbes Hospice, the Residence on Fifth building was purchased by Carnegie Mellon for $7.5 million in May from the West Penn Allegheny Health System. Most of the 42 residents who were housed in the hospice are being temporarily placed in the Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Bloomfield. The hospice had been approved for 71 residents. The sale of the building also resulted in the loss of 47 full and part-time workers, reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Carnegie Mellon is seeking to eventually use more of the apartment space offered by the building through possible re-zoning, providing more opportunities for first-years to experience being part of both Carnegie Mellon and the greater Oakland community.