Such was Chris Kyles ’08’s reaction when he first opened the door of his single at Rangeview Hall, which opened to students on Jan. 19.
The four-story residence hall is Occidental’s first new student housing in 25 years and the largest hall on campus.
"Amazing would be the first word I would use," chimed in his girlfriend, Molly Frolich ’09, who was helping Kyles move in. "It’s really not fair that you have a bigger closet than I do. I’m a girl," Frolich, who lives at 1601 Campus Road, complained as they examined the space. And the bathroom "is bigger than my bathroom in my house!" "Oh my God, two sinks!" Kyles said.
Students who lived in Erdman, Wylie and Bell-Young halls last semester are the first residents of the new $38.8-million, 274-bed residence hall, which features private bathrooms and refrigerators and microwaves in each room, a fitness center, and classrooms, lounges and study halls scattered throughout the building, which is arranged around a series of internal courtyards. Erdman, Wylie and Bell-Young—three of Occidental’s oldest residence halls—have closed for extensive renovations. Next fall, Rangeview will become a residence for juniors and seniors, and the three newly renovated halls will reopen, increasing the number of students living on campus to 85%.
The excited new residents began moving into Rangeview at 10 a.m., some clad in pajamas and heaving Hefty bags full of clothing while their dads lugged flatscreen TVs.
Resident Advisor Erik Quezada ’09 gave students the drill as they arrived: "No holes in the walls, no smoking within 20 feet of the exterior walls, no smoking in the courtyards. Welcome."
"Putting up posters, I can’t thumbtack ’em?" one student asked. "No," Quezada said. "So same thing with putting up lights?" the student persisted. "No holes," reiterated Resident Advisor Elizabeth Teurlay. "And if you hear hammering, run and find that person and tell them to stop." "Because they will get charged a lot," Quezada said. How much? "Their soul," Teurlay said ominously.
Roommates Aviva Kaufman ’10 and Jessica Allen ’10 gave their third-floor room mixed reviews. Although they said it was a huge improvement over their old room in Bell-Young, they wished the closets were a little bigger and the bathroom a little smaller—they felt it unnecessarily took up space that could’ve gone toward making the main room bigger. Also, with the no-holes policy, "It’s hard to hang anything heavier than a poster," Allen said. Still, they liked the mirrored closet doors and were big fans of the private bathroom. "I don’t have to wear shoes in the shower anymore," Kaufman said. Overall, "we love it," they said simultaneously.
Shana Edmond ’08 moved into Rangeview from Wylie. She liked the fact that the dorm has its own 235-space parking garage and a laundry room on every floor. "I love this," she said. "It’s much better than Wylie, just because everything is new. Wylie is one of the oldest dorms."
However, no opening of a new building is without its snags. "I found a coffee cup and chewing tobacco in my closet," said Lindsey Forrest Archer ’09. Even still, "I think it’s amazing."