Photos by Mike Wilkes

New Student Housing, Oberlin Style

It’s been 40 years since new student housing was built on Oberlin’s campus. That’s none too soon for junior Shannon Davis, who peeked through the windows of her new house in the Union Street Housing complex the night before she moved in. “It’s so cool. Look at all the furniture!”

Junior Laura Dodd, one of Davis’ housemates, grinned: “One of these bedrooms is the size of my entire living quarters before. This will probably be the nicest apartment I’ll be living in for a long time.”

The pair was among dozens of upperclass students who elected to live in the 11 new townhouse-style buildings erected just north of Langston Hall. Each house has three furnished suites wih a common living space, kitchen, spacious bathroom, and bedrooms for each of four students. The apartments include the latest electronic features and wireless Internet access.

Designed by Joseph Ferut & Associates of nearby Elyria, the complex embraces three different building styles, each with wood frame structures and traditional porches and balconies. The result is a distinctive, neighborhood feeling.

Union Street Housing works well with the College’s new Strategic Plan and the new mission of the Office of Residential Education and Dining Service, says Director Molly Tyson. “The goal is to allow for a more intentional building of community across campus and to allow upperclass students to further develop habits of citizenship and civility in a more independent living situation,” she says. “The complex creates a village community atmosphere with fewer student staff members and more personal responsibility.”

“It’s huge, it’s clean, and it’s brand new,” announced junior Alanna MacCord the day she moved in. “It’s really exciting to be the first person in a brand new building.”

Even the parents were in awe. “This is too much luxury for a student,” said Mohsen Ghanbari, whose daughter Yasamin is a junior. “You walk in here and it makes you feel young again. It gives you everything you need to do well.