The Digital Journalism Blog


Kristin’s Final Multimedia Package

Posted in Uncategorized by com360bu on May 10, 2011

New Apartment Complex to Break a 40-year Bradley Tradition

For at least 40 years, Bradley University has had a policy in place that requires non-commuting freshmen and sophomores to reside in its residence halls, according to Bradley’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Alan Galsky. But now, for the first time in nearly half a century, underclassmen will have another option. Main Street Commons, an apartment complex being built down the street from the university, will be home to a select group of incoming Bradley freshmen next fall upon its grand opening in August 2011. The group of freshmen will serve as guinea pigs for a pilot program Galsky and the university want to try out. The purpose of the program is to find out whether the off-campus, upscale facility can replicate the living experience of a traditional, on-campus, dormitory-like situation.

By Kristin Muckerheide

Bradley Tradition Faces New Changes

Small, public, female-only, large, private, co-ed, liberal arts, technical, Catholic, community, Christian; the list goes on.

Despite the endless differences among colleges and universities across the country and even across the globe, there’s one aspect that unites most college underclassmen – dorm life.

Many colleges require students to live in their dormitories for a certain length of time, whether it’s one, two or even three years. Peoria, Illinois’ Bradley University is one of those typical American colleges that require non-commuting students to reside in their dorms for a time span of its choosing – in Bradley’s case, the rule is two years.

Or rather, the rule was two years, until recently.

Bradley has made an agreement with the companies that own a new apartment complex being built down the street from the university that will expand housing options for underclassmen.

Bradley is offering a pilot program for incoming freshmen who’d have the opportunity to live there upon the building’s opening in August 2011, according to Kelly Young, the director of operations at Oxbow Development. Oxbow is one of the principle owners of the new Main Street Commons complex, said Young.

The freshmen would live on a floor that’s secured specifically for Bradley students, she said. Two residential advisors would also be assigned to live on and monitor the floor, just as on Bradley’s on-campus dorms.

“[The floor] would fall under the same supervision as the housing department at Bradley,” said Young. “The students would be responsible to live under the same code of conduct as expected in Bradley housing.”

Alan Galsky, Bradley’s Vice President for Student Affairs, said there are a few reasons the university is trying this new program.

“We wanted to know if it’s possible to mimic true residence hall life experience in an off-campus, upscale facility that is run and managed on a mini-scale the way we do our residence halls,” he said.

Besides the potential to improve student development, Galsky talked about benefits from an enrollment management perspective.

“We want to see what advantage that gives us in the marketplace if we were to allow a select few freshmen to live in an off-campus, upscale residence hall,” he said.

Galsky said that the university will measure the progress and results in a number of ways, such as administering surveys, asking students, conducting objective research and by observing midterm grades, GPA, final grades and how many organizations the Main Street Commons freshmen are involved in.

For now, Bradley is just doing this as a test, but there is a potential for a longer-term agreement if it goes well.

“If it’s successful, we will think vey seriously about offering it to our fall 2012 freshmen on an expanded scale,” said Galsky.

For the first year testing out the program, there will be 28 Bradley freshmen living on a shared floor in the new apartment building.  But depending on how successful the first year is, Galsky said Bradley would consider expanding the program to include 40, 60 or even 80 students the year after, depending on the interest and demand for the apartments.

He also said there’s a possibility that Bradley might not feel comfortable continuing the program at all. Or they might decide to keep a low number of students in the pilot program instead of expanding it. It all depends on the results of the study, said Galsky.

But there’s no guarantee there will be enough interest in the future to keep it going. Galsky pointed out that the lease on the Main Street Commons apartments is 12 months, so students will be responsible for paying for all 12 months, even if they don’t plan on staying at school for the summer. Another downfall is the price range.

“It’s a couple thousand dollars different for the year, at least,” said Galsky, comparing the prices to Bradley’s dorm rates.

Young said each bedroom costs $659, so a 12-month lease would cost a renter $7,908. The price of living in the Bradley dorms, on the other hand, is $4,850 for the academic year, excluding the price of a required meal plan for underclassmen living in the dorms.

But for now, there are underclassmen willing to pay the extra money and jump through all the hoops of paperwork to be able to live in these off-campus apartments instead of staying in the dorms.

This new program is an abandonment of a long-time Bradley tradition. Galsky said the two-year dorm rule has been in place at the university for as long as he’s been there – 40 years. And he said it was probably the norm even before that.

The reason it’s stayed that way, at least throughout Galsky’s term, is because he thinks it’s in the best interests of the students.

“We believe it’s the best for students to enjoy and be involved in college life,” said Galsky, “They tend to enjoy their experience better and learn time management and be a more successful student if they have that kind of guidance for two years … Students who live in the residence halls for up to two years in general are more successful according to whatever standards sheet you look at.”

While listing several advantages to living in the dorms, Galsky was only able to think of one negative aspect.

“They don’t have their own private bathrooms,” he said. “Those are probably the only cons to it.”

That wouldn’t be a problem for renters in the new Main Street Commons building. Each person has their own bedroom and bathroom, regardless of whether they share a suite with someone or live alone.

Despite Galsky’s favorable attitudes toward on-campus dorm life, he’s interested in seeing how this off-campus residence hall can match up to what Bradley tries to accomplish in its residence halls.

Galsky approached Oxbow Development and the other owners about the idea, said Young. And she and Galsky both said they are excited about the project.

Young is also optimistic about the potential to build a long-term relationship with Bradley and the community.

“We’re a huge supporter of Bradley,” she said. “It’s a great university with great faculty and staff, and it’s our intention to support the university in any way we can. The whole purpose we’re in business is to build on or near college campuses. Our mission is to be a supportive part of the community, and that is exactly what we intend to be at Bradley.”

Bradley Students’ Thoughts on Main Street Commons

Photo Slideshow of Main Street Commons and Bradley Residence Halls

This is a slideshow of the photos I wanted to use to go along with my story. This slideshow is not in the format that I want it to be in, however. If it were in its final, desired form, the photos would be in an interactive slideshow that would allow the viewers to click the start, stop and next button to see the photos they want at the speed they want. I also would have it in the format where one photo would be on one side, and on the other side, the text and caption would appear.

I wrote a shortened version of this for each of the photos in this slideshow, however they’re not appearing as they’re supposed to. If you look at the top of photos in the slideshow above, you’ll see some text pop up randomly but only for a second. That text is a brief caption and byline that I wrote, but for some reason it’s not working the way it’s supposed to.

Anyway, in the final form that I would’ve done if I had the programming knowledge, the extended caption and byline would appear in the space next to each photo, and the viewers would be able to click next or back. They could stay on that photo for however long they wanted, or they could also choose an automatic play-through which would have each photo appear for about five to eight seconds, so the readers would have enough time to read the captions and view the photos.

I’ll write out the captions I’d have for each photo, in order that they appear in the slideshow above.

Photo one: The side view of the Main Street Commons Apartment Complex. The building, which is currently being built on Peoria Illinois’ Main Street, will be completed and opened on August 1 of 2011. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo two: A front view of the Main Street Commons construction. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo three: Another front view of the Main Street Commons construction. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo four: A sample photo of what the bedrooms in the Main Street Commons building are expected to look like upon completion. Renters get their own bedroom. Photo courtesy of liveatmain.com

Photo five: A sample photo of what a typical living area will look like in the Main Street Commons complex. All rooms come furnished. Photo courtesy of liveatmain.com

Photo six: A sample photo of what a typical bathroom will look like for a Main Street Commons renter. All renters will have their own private bathroom, including a shower. Photo courtesy of liveatmain.com

Photo seven: A sample photo of what a two-person kitchen looks like in the apartment complex. Photo courtesy of Kelly Young, the director of operations at Oxbow Development, one of the principle owners of the Main Street Commons Apartment complex

Photo eight: A sample photo of the type of study rooms that are included in the apartment building. Photo courtesy of Kelly Young

Photo nine: Tanning is a free service that Main Street Commons provides for its renters. Photo courtesy of Kelly Young

Photo 10: The apartment complex will have a recreational room that will include ping pong tables, pool tables, darts, arcades, sofas, TVs and more. Photo courtesy of Kelly Young

Photo 11: There is a vending room where renters and guests can buy snacks at any time of the day or night. Photo courtesy of Kelly Young

Photo 12: A free fitness center is available to all renters. Photo courtesy of Kelly Young

Photo 13: Plans of what the building will look like upon completion can be seen on the right. On the left side of the image are sample photos of the kinds of rooms, furniture and decorations that the company provides in apartment buildings near college campuses such as Bradley’s.

Photo 14: Bradley University has six main residence halls available to students. This is Wyckoff Hall, a dormitory primarily used for freshmen. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 15: The front view of Wyckoff Hall. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 16: Another image of the front side of Wyckoff. The building has five floors, including the basement. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 17: The rear view of Wyckoff Hall. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 18: Wyckoff Hall is attached to Harper Hall, a predominantly sophomore residence hall with eight floors. In the middle of the two halls is a courtyard. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 19: The rear view of Harper Hall. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 20: The inside of a dorm room in Harper Hall. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 21: The same Harper Hall dorm room. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 22: A typical Harper Hall room, in a different setup than the previous photo of a larger-than-normal Harper room. The beds are up top, and there is a walk-in closet on the left. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 23: The desk area, usually used for studying and computer use. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 24: Harper Hall room. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 25: A different dorm room in Harper Hall. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 26: The bed area is up on the top right. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 27: The common area in the middle of Harper and Wyckoff Hall. There’s a study room on the left. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 28: Another photo of the common area shared by both Wyckoff and Harper Hall. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 29: A game room in Wyckoff Hall. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 30: TV area and air hockey table in game room. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 31: Pool table in Wyckoff’s game room. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Photo 32: Foosball table and ping pong table in Wyckoff game room. Photo by Kristin Muckerheide

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: