The Mary and Harold Perper Residence Hall

Innovative dorm is designed to keep upperclassmen living the campus lifestyle.

Preliminary architechtural renderings by Gensler

If your memory of a college dorm involves a shivery walk to the communal shower and a twin mattress so thin it curled in the corners, welcome to campus living today, the era of urban-style loft apartments with balconies, private bathrooms and double—yes, double—beds.

It’s such an improvement over housing options of the last century, students might not want to leave.

And that is all part of the design.

The model for this new deluxe campus living is the Mary and Harold Perper Residence Hall, under construction on the old intramural field. It offers all the amenities of modern apartments: kitchenettes, lounges, a peaceful courtyard, stylish furnishings.

But Perper Hall offers one thing no off-campus complex can: living at Lynn.

Keeping students immersed in the campus lifestyle is an essential part of the college experience, said Meagan Elsberry, director of housing and residence life.

“When students live on campus, they’re more likely to succeed. If they’re hanging out at the fire pit, going to games at Bobby Campbell Stadium, meeting friends at the commons, they connect with Lynn.”

Cliff Bollmann, project manager for Gensler, the architectural firm behind the new residence hall, said using good design to keep students on campus is a national trend.

“There is tremendous competition to retain students. The culture of the institution is very important to the effort, and buildings enhance that culture.”

Perper Hall will house 170 upperclassmen, a 20 percent increase in on-campus occupancy. Elsberry said the new dorm will alleviate a recent housing crunch.

“Juniors and seniors help create a positive vibe on campus. The older students act as role models.”

Groundbreaking ceremony
Groundbreaking: President Kevin M. Ross, Christine E. Lynn, John Gallo, Mary Perper, Helen Ross and President Emeritus Donald E. Ross (front row) are joined by Trustee R. Brad Osborne and members of the Gensler team, Cliff Bollmann and Brian Watson (back row).
Perper Residence Hall offers one thing no off-campus complex can: living at Lynn.

Using design to influence student success

It’s a balancing act, this new approach to on-campus living. It honors privacy bathrooms for only two roommates) as much as connection (open patios). It recognizes that learning can take place anywhere (Wi-Fi everywhere) and that natural light trumps any lightbulb (windows galore).

Once Perper Hall is built, Elsberry said, the plan is to provide housing for anyone who wants it.

“It’s good for students. And it’s good for Lynn.”

Preliminary rendering by Gensler
Sleek design: open common areas and loft-style rooms

Dorms can seal the deal

According to a survey by APPA in Facilities Manager magazine, unappealing housing is the No. 1 reason colleges fail to seal the deal with prospective students.

On the flip side, though, is the persuasive power of a modern, inviting dorm. Dorms rank second in students’ decision-making process, after facilities related to their specific majors.

“Perper Hall will be a selling point for the campus,” Elsberry said. “That stylish suite-style loft living is a powerful recruitment tool. And a powerful retention tool, too.”

Not their parents’ dorm

Dorm life is undergoing a revolution: Compare Perper Hall with Lynn housing in 1990.

Now

  • Suites with living rooms and private baths
  • Charge away: ample outlets for all devices
  • Binge watch: Wi-Fi and cable in every room
  • Coed dorms
  • No smoking on campus
  • Pocket-size device for Spotify and YouTube
  • Tri-purpose card: ID, meal plan, room key
  • State-of-the-art LED lighting
  • Sleep in: blinds in every window
  • LEED certification

Then

  • One closet and community showers
  • Lose the Mr. Coffee: limited power sockets
  • Rabbit ears: no cable, no computer wiring
  • Boy-girl time ends at midnight
  • Ashtrays
  • Boom box with requisite CD case
  • Metal room key on a trusty lanyard
  • Cramming in the dark: 9-watt desk lamps
  • Bring your own curtains (or rig bedsheets)
  • This new thing called recycling
Then and now dorm comparison
Comparison of the new Perper Residence Hall (left) and a typical dorm room from 1990
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