Rutgers - Newark formally opens new residence hall
Residents at Rutgers – Newark now have a new home they can look forward to living in.
On Tuesday, Nov. 17, the school opened a new residence hall at 15 Washington Street, said Angelita Bonilla, Associate Dean for Student Affairs. The building was renovated over the last several years.
“The law school had moved out to the new building and (administrators) were trying to think (about) what could be done to it,” she said. “(It was converted because) the University decided that would be the best use for the spaces it (provided).”
The new hall was formally known as the S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice but is now referred as 15 Washington, she said. It held the Rutgers School of Law – Newark until 2000, when the building’s state of disrepair forced a move.
“It needed a lot of repair (because) the old building was opened in 1930,” she said.
Some of the issues seen included elevators getting stuck, according to an article by The Star Ledger. Students successfully protested these problems at the time.
Originally the building was to be acquired by Marriott International, Inc. after it was emptied, according to the article. These plans changed after the hotel industry encountered problems due to the terror attacks in 2001.
According to a Rutgers – Newark’s webpage, the law school had been housed at 15 Washington St. since 1978. In 1999 its new building was opened at 123 Washington St.
Renovations began in 2013, according to The Star Ledger. While extra funding was required to remove asbestos and lead, they were still completed within two years and the first class of students moved in at the beginning of the fall 2015 semester.
Bonilla said administrators decided to convert the former academic building into a residential space because it would be able to raise more revenue than if a new department had moved in.
At capacity, 330 residents can live in the building, she said. These include both graduate and undergraduate students living in single and double-rooms.
This creates more space for graduate students, according to Rutgers – Newark’s website.
Other facilities include study spaces, lounges open to all students, a gymnasium equipped for a cardio workout, a great hall and a “yoga” room, Bonilla said. It also features a package-locker system similar to the post office boxes Rutgers – New Brunswick offers students who live on-campus.
“There’s (also) residential meeting rooms open to residents only,” she said. “In the non-residential space there are (other meeting) rooms (like the) lounges.”
Like other residence halls at the University, 15 Washington will also have typical amenities, she said. The Housing Department is still waiting on the remainder of the equipment and furniture ordered for the building.
It is located a few blocks from the center of Rutgers – Newark, she said, and is “right next” to the campus’ business school.
Chancellor Nancy Cantor will move into the penthouse in the building next year, according to The Star Ledger. These living quarters were part of her contract when she first joined the University.
Rutgers and the New Brunswick Development Co., also known as Devco, funded the renovations jointly. The company is responsible for a large number of the changes being seen on College Avenue campus, according to The Daily Targum.
While the two institutions both own parts of the building at the moment, the eventual goal is for Rutgers to buy the entirety from Devco over the next several years. This will be done using student fees, according to the Ledger.
The new hall helps students at Rutgers–Newark, Bonilla said.
“It is a great project that was done for the community,” she said. “I’m happy to see it come back to life. We’ve been talking about this for a long time.”