Image: Norton Road Hall
Norton Road Hall

CULLOWHEE – The good news is the drought is over for Western North Carolina's mountains. The bad news is the summer's near-record rainfall that washed away a springtime precipitation deficit also is responsible for a delay in the completion date for Western Carolina University's newest residence hall.

University officials originally expected the first two floors of the 290-bed Norton Road Hall to be ready for occupancy in time for Western's annual Freshman Move-In Day on Saturday, Aug. 20, with the top two floors finished a few weeks later.

Uncooperative weather has pushed back the opening of the new hall to Sept. 3, said Keith Corzine, director of residential living at Western.

“We hope that students and their families will understand that, although all parties invested in this project have worked diligently in pursuit of our goals, the weather constraints caused us to come up just a bit short of meeting our timeframe,” Corzine said. “We, too, are disappointed with this temporary delay; however, we believe that when students see their accommodations in Norton Hall, they will agree that it was well worth the wait.”

A $9.7 million project, the four-story building is the third new student residential facility to be built at Western in the past two years to help meet demand for housing on a campus that has seen its enrollment jump by 16.23 percent during that same period. Designed with significant input from students, the new facility features a large number of single rooms, along with semi-private bathrooms, multi-purpose living rooms, classroom space and expanded study areas, small kitchen areas, wireless computing networks and an on-site convenience store.

All residents of Norton Road Hall have been notified of the delay, and will be assigned to temporary living space in other residence halls. Some assignments were based on roommate vacancies, while other students have been assigned to study rooms converted into temporary living space, Corzine said.

“I think students who are assigned to temporary space will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of their short-term rooms,” said Robert Caruso, vice chancellor for student affairs. “The residential living folks have done a wonderful job creating first-rate quarters for those students to help make their lives comfortable during their short stay in the temporary accommodations.”

For every student affected by the delay, the university will credit student accounts a prorated amount for the period of the temporary assignment. Staff members from the department of residential living also will provide assistance, including access to a moving truck and a driver, for students without vehicles or in need of transportation assistance to move belongings from temporary quarters into Norton Road Hall once it is open.

Construction crews are now putting finishing touches on the building, Corzine said. Once all inspections are complete, university employees will install furniture in bedrooms and living space and perform a final cleaning.

Students or parents seeking additional information about Norton Road Hall should contact Western's residential living office at (828) 227-7303 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

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Last modified: Friday, August 12, 2005
Copyright 2005 by Western Carolina University