Suite Success

As the Suites on Grant buildings have risen along Grant Street and Pratt Drive, faculty members, staff members, and students have made preparations to take advantage of all they will offer. The buildings—Phase I of the Residential Revival—will be much more than mere places to live: They will bring together living and learning in a number of ways.

A collaboration of the university and the Foundation for IUP, the buildings—and their counterparts in succeeding phases—will have dedicated living-learning space on each floor. Students and faculty members can gather there for lectures, group discussions and projects, academic advising, tutoring, and resource sharing. A committee of faculty members from across the university has met regularly this semester to decide the best way to utilize the living-learning space in the Suites on Grant.

Residential Revival

Several offices concerned with diversity will be located on the ground floor of this building, which faces Pratt Drive. Langham Hall, soon to be demolished, is at left.

Another indication that the revival is not solely residential are amenity spaces on the ground floor of the building that faces Pratt Drive. A resource center, comprising the African American Cultural Center, International Affairs office, and Social Equity office, will have space there by fall. Ground floor space in another wing of the same building, but facing Grant Street, will be set aside for the Information Technology Support Center.

Living Learning Committee

Faculty members and administrators are planning best uses for the living-learning areas in the Suites on Grant. Left to right, front row: Stephanie Taylor-Davis, Food and Nutrition; Jacquline Beck, Health and Human Services; and Jack Makara, Housing and Residence Life. Back row: Theresa Ruffner, Psychology; Dennis Giever, Criminology; and Caleb Finegan, History.

Demolition of the Tri-Halls complex as part of Phase II of the Residential Revival will temporarily suspend IUP’s housing arrangements with its Panhellenic sororities, as well as with a number of other organizations. But Interim Dean of Students Terry Appolonia ’79, M’81 offered reassurance: “The university's relationship with our fraternity and sorority community has never been more mutually beneficial. We are in close contact with both the undergraduate chapters and their alumnae representatives as we plan both a short- and long-term win/win resolution.”

IUP's earliest national sororities were chartered in 1914 and are believed to have originally been housed in nonresidential suites in Sutton Hall. The Panhellenic sororities occupied their current suites with the opening of Mack, Stewart, and Turnbull halls in the early sixties. "We are pleased that both the undergraduate and alumnae members of our Panhellenic sororities remain interested in a residential relationship with the university,” Appolonia said. “We look forward to quickly reestablishing that relationship.”

One group of students has a professional interest in the Suites on Grant. Fifty-one members of Interior Design faculty member Karen Scarton’s Contract Design II classes worked this semester on adding colorful personal touches to three model rooms in the Suites on Grant.

Wearing hard hats, class members toured the building site to take measurements (including the nine-foot ceilings) and gain inspiration. In small groups and with a tight deadline and real budget, they planned furniture arrangement, chose shower curtain patterns and towel colors, and picked out bedspreads and accessories. Finally, each group made a presentation to administrators involved with the project.

Not only were appearance and appropriateness evaluated, but cost was a big factor.  Each group had to document the price of every item, which in turn had to be conveniently available for purchase by future tenants of the Suites on Grant. The three groups selected then personalized actual rooms that are now on display to prospective students and tenants.

The group chosen to address a two person-private suite (with private bath) relies heavily on modern shapes, geometric patterns, and subdued shades of burgundy, blue, and brown for bedrooms and baths and more vibrant hues for kitchen accessories. Group members include Autumn Craft, Saltsburg; Megan McDade, Oxford; Meghan McGrail, McMurray; Julie Nitkiewicz, Greensburg; and Jennifer Platts, Pittsburgh.

The personalization team selected to deal with a two-person shared semi-suite (common sleeping area, small common room, bathroom, and two closets) decided to bunk the beds in the sleeping area to allow for a lounge area within sight of the suite’s front door. A red rug, brightly patterned chair, and movable screen offer color and flexibility, while innovative kitchen and bath accessories—including a freestanding corner shelf unit—contribute individuality. Team members include Jamie Barr, Pittsburgh; Teresa Romanowski, Bethlehem; and Megan Kyper, Ebensburg.

A third group applied its creativity to a two-person private semi-suite (two private bedrooms, small common area, and bathroom). One bedroom takes its cue from film posters, while travel posters dominate the other. What group members describe as “a great beach theme” sets the stage in the bathroom. Members of this team include Karina Bulick, Millersburg; Megan Lacy, Burlington, Vt.; Yoana Pencheva, Lovech, Bulgaria; and Dana Wentley, Pittsburgh.