The renovations on the Mason and Randolph residence halls were completed this summer after construction began in 2011.
The University of Mary Washington worked with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) to create new residence halls out of the existing Mason and Randolph buildings that would be more environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient.
LEED offers different levels of eligibility depending on the energy efficiency of the building. UMW is required by the Commonwealth to obtain LEED Silver, according to Christine Porter, director of residence life and commuter students.
However, Mason Hall and Randolph Hall are eligible for LEED Gold.
“We have gone above what we needed to have done,” said Porter.
The buildings energy efficient list includes lights that turn on and off automatically, low flow toilets and showers, control of storm water runoff and the use of recycled materials.
The buildings also offer three living and learning communities in Randolph Hall. Justice for All focuses on social justice, Empower U is a women and gender studies and Vision is a leadership community.
Although the buildings offer many benefits to help the environment and save energy, some of the student feedback has been negative.
“The rooms are extremely small; there is an unnecessary amount of space in the bathrooms which they could have used in the rooms,” said Junior International Affairs and Economics Major Kelly Hastings.
According to Hastings, the only way residents can have enough space in their room is to bunk the beds.
Freshman Alexis Bark said that because of the age of the buildings each room varies in size.
“None of the rooms are the same size,” said Bark. “My room is big but my friends is like a closet. It’s the luck of the draw.”
Among the many changes, “the tunnel” was given a makeover and the name was changed to “the link.” “The tunnel” connected the two residence halls with an open terrace that was formerly known as “the beach.” The new connection between the two buildings, now “the link,” is completely covered, according to Porter.
“The tunnel had a very negative connotation,” said Porter.
On the ground level of “the link” are four full apartments which house faculty and staff. “The link” has received a positive response from the students.
“The really cool part is the walkway in between the two halls, it allows the freshman and upperclassmen to mingle,” said Junior English and French major Kerry Blanton.
“The beach” was also given a makeover. Given its name due to its location and accessibility for sunbathing without being seen, “The Beach” was changed from an open terrace connecting Mason and Randolph to an indoor connection conjoining the two buildings.
“’The beach’ was hidden by bushes so people, particularly when it was an all-women school, could sunbathe and not be seen,” said Porter.
Together the two buildings can house about 390 students, which is less than they were able to hold before the renovations.
“They used to be able to hold about 410 so we lost a few room spaces for residents,” said Porter.
However, the buildings offer more amenities, including indoor bike storage, pool tables and ping pong tables, according to Porter.
“A lot of people use the rec room,” said Freshman Justin Pampalone. “It’s always full.”
The kitchen, located in the lounge also offers, updated amenities for the residents.
“The kitchen is really nice,” said Bark.
Tom Riley, university physician and director of the health center, did the three murals found throughout the hallways. The murals are of the Rappahannock River, the York River and the James River.
The plants surrounding the buildings are all native plants that are drought tolerant, according to Porter.
The buildings have reduced overall energy use by 32 percent, according to Porter.
According to Porter, beginning in September, a slide show will be running in a kiosk in the building to inform students and visitors of the environmentally friendly qualities of the buildings