The newest dorm at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul is Akenson. Originally a Country Inn and Suites by Carlson, it has now been converted to house freshman-senior residence students.
Lots of work was done over the summer to prepare the building for move-in day. Lead Maintenance Manager Oscar Knudson said, “There were many hours of planning to determine space usage, furniture needs, and network and physical changes needed in the rooms to accommodate residents’ needs.”
Over the summer, the IT department worked hard to get Internet connection to the new dorm. In addition, a lot of furniture was moved in that was previously being stored at Aden Hall (a dorm from previous years) and buildings that are now housing for married students.
Ashley Richardson, an RA at Akenson, described the layout of the building, saying, “The first and second floor here in Akenson are for the women and the third floor is for the men. Most of the rooms have one main living space with one bathroom. However, some are larger in size and have a ‘hotel suite’ feel to them, meaning they are very spacious.”
The rooms house two to four people, depending on the style.
One difference Akenson has compared to other UNW dorms is that rooms do not have their own kitchen. There are community kitchens in each hall as well as a community kitchen near the lounge on the fist floor, all equipped with basic kitchen necessities as well as a toaster oven and microwave. Some rooms have a small fridge and/or freezer.
A pool is another new feature Akenson brings to UNW. A pool and hot tub are available for students to use from 6 a.m. to midnight. The pool area is popular in the evenings, as students come together to hang out, swim, play games or relax in the hot tub.
On the first floor there is a sizable lounge with a fireplace, two computers and a printer/copying machine.
Richardson said, “The lounge is a wonderful place to hang out and connect with people. I would relate our lounge to the Student Center because it is the ‘heartbeat’ of Akenson.”
Students who live in Akenson seem to be happy with living there.
Junior Hannah Henley said, “Compared to the other dorms, I like the Country Inn better. It was great to live in Hartill my first two years for the social aspect, but now that I’m a junior, it’s nice to have more space and a quieter place to go and do homework.” In regards to the location, Henley added, “It’s nice to be away from all the commotion and go back to a more chill environment and a bigger space.”
Overall, students seem to be enjoying their new dorm. The added residential space is helpful to the campus as a whole and will give the student body a space to grow.