New residence unveiled

By Valerie Cross

Green marmolium, coffee shops, new microwaves and full views of your neighbours’ activities are just a few of the commodities the newest University of Calgary Residence boasts.

Officially opened Sept. 24, Cascade Hall is modern residence style housing. Cascade (named after a mountain range in the Rockies) was designed to accommodate students, visiting scholars and conference guests. However, Cascade also includes suites for guests with disabilities or chemical sensitivities.

Students with severe allergies may live in apartments furnished with cotton futons, metal blinds, hardwood furniture, and marmolium floors (similar to linoleum, but made from flaxseed) to limit fumes. The 12 apartments for students and scholars with severe allergies will also run on a separate ventilation system and offer a separate laundry room so occupants are not exposed to perfumed soaps or dyes.

"There is a definite need for this sort of housing on campus, and Cascade will meet that need quite well," explained Residence Service Manager Meri Kim Oliver.

Students with disabilities are also able to live in specially designed suites in Cascade which include wheelchair-accessible stoves, wall ovens, fridges, roll-in showers, wider hallways and automatic opening doorways.

"These rooms are so much easier to move in, I’m so happy with how accessibility has improved in Residence," said Jessie Negropontes, a student living in one of the six new Cascade suites. For an extra $20 a month (rent runs around $412 a month for these rooms), Negropontes feels the extra money is definitely worth it.

"I look forward to coming home here," said Negropontes. "The last Rez for disabled students was built in 1983; this is just much nicer."
The new building will also accommodate 18 conference guests and four visiting families. In the summer all available space will also be used as conference housing.

"This is a valuable and practical source of revenue for the university," says Oliver. Conference rooms run at a comparable hotel rate of $60 to $100 a night, while visiting scholars are charged $1,250 a month for fully furnished suites.

As for the 400 students who are lucky enough to live in the brand new building, rent runs from $400 to $500 a month, including utilities, depending on the resident’s apartment style of choice. Single studio rooms, two or four bedroom apartments, and loft apartments (with a very funky spiral staircase) are available.

"This impressive facility enables us to offer more housing to U of C students at affordable rates at a time when Calgary’s rental market is hot," said U of C President Terry White.

Cascade also offers a student lounge, ethernet hook-ups to each room, a fitness centre (scheduled to open next week in conjunction with Campus Recreation), and a multiuse playing surface for volleyball games, tennis matches and, in the winter when flooded, hockey games. Security has improved in this new building, with separate floors and wings operating on a keyed access only system. It is hoped these measures will reduce any damage or vandalism to the new $20.3 million building. Stuart Olson construction and Chomik architectural group are responsible for the imposing structure.

President Terry White, U of C Chancellor Jack Perraton and Residence Students’ Association President Johanna Waggott were all present at the Sept. 24 opening. After the formal key passing ceremony, the Cascade Hall Plaque was unveiled and the doors officially opened at 3456 24 Ave.
At the ceremony White praised the 28 per cent of University of Calgary students who do live in Residence.

"These students living on campus enhance our community spirit," he said. "It’s a great thing that we can add 400 more beds to this community."

The number of U of C students living on campus is now 1,650.

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