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Lakeview honored as a 'Dorm of Distinction'

Michelle Garcia, Alisa Emelianova and Adam Ferguson enjoy their lunch and do work in the second floor lounge of Lakeview Hall.
Michelle Garcia, Alisa Emelianova and Adam Ferguson enjoy their lunch and do work in the second floor lounge of Lakeview Hall.

University Business Magazine, a publication for senior administrators at colleges and universities, has named the University of Richmond's newly constructed Lakeview Hall to its "Dorms of Distinction."

According to the article, published in August, writers at the magazine looked for sustainable dorms that provided a home-like atmosphere to its students while fostering a sense of community with both interior and exterior space. Lakeview was included on the list from the magazine writers, who evaluated 75 other dormitories at both small and large colleges and universities for their Living and Learning programs, pleasant living quarters and eco-friendly features.

Brian Eckert, Richmond's director of media and public relations and a regular reader of University Business Magazine, noticed a call for entries for consideration published by the magazine last year. He suggested that the university nominate Lakeview for the list of honored residence halls, he said.

For the dormitory to be considered, Steve Bisese, vice president for student development, filled out a nomination form that consisted of eight questions regarding the dormitory's structure, its programs, and the ways in which it promotes a sense of community among the students.

Although the dormitory is only a year old and its Living and Learning programs have been in session for only a semester, it seems its inclusion on the "Dorms of Distinction" list is well deserved. According to administrators and faculty, the building is living up to the university's expectations.

Carlos Valencia, professor of Lakeview's Spanish in the Community program, said he felt that the program has been a success in all respects.

"From my end, I believe that the classroom dynamic has been very different to what you would have in normal classrooms," he said. "The fact that these kids live together all the time outside of the classroom really changes the atmosphere for the better.

"Several people have polled the students and done evaluations, and it's been outstanding. They've all really praised the experience and we already have two applicants for fall of 2009."

Patrick Benner, associate dean of Richmond College, was responsible for putting together the application for the Living and Learning programs. He received about 160 applications last year for the five programs that Lakeview housed this past semester, he said.

Sophomore Alisa Emelianova participated in the Spanish in the Community course last semester and thought it was engaging, she said.

"Not only do I love living in Lakeview because it's so new," she said, "but also because I have great people in my hall that are all interested in the same things as I am. We all get along well and support each other."

While reactions to the programs offered in Lakeview have been positive, university administrators have received equally positive feedback on the building as well. John Hoogakker, associate vice president of university facilities, has heard a consistently good response, but he said there had been some difference of opinion about the suites' closet format. He also mentioned some operational problems.

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"Since it's a green building, it has a fairly sophisticated heating and air-conditioning system and we've had more problems wringing out the operation of that equipment than we usually do with a new building," he said. "In particular, we've had some humidity problems, and we've actually replaced some pretty sizeable equipment in the building this winter to improve its performance when the warm weather comes."

Senior David Treichler, also a Spanish in the Community student, thought the humidity was an issue early last semester but has since diminished with winter's arrival. Students' limited access to Lakeview's large kitchen has also been an issue, he said, although he did stress that those were minor complaints and didn't detract too much from the excellent quality of living Lakeview provides.

Next year, Lakeview will house the Sophomore Scholars in Residence program, Bisese said. The second-year students, both men and women, will participate in a one-unit course during the fall and a half-unit course project during the spring semester.

Contact reporter Guv Callahan at

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