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East River Apartments

Bluefield College's residence hall, East River, is not just filled with dorm rooms. Apartments are also available for married couples.

Heather Paisley

February 22, 2011

Most colleges apartments are located in separate buildings and not within a normal college dorm building like East River.

East River, the newest dormitory at Bluefield College, opened in fall 2008 and includes apartments to increase places for married students to live.

Kelly Somers, Director of Residence Life, decides which students will live in an apartment.  Not just any student can have an apartment because certain restrictions apply.

 

“The apartments were designed for the married students or couples,” said Somers. “Either spouse can be a student. If at least one of you is a student, you have the opportunity to reside in an apartment. As of right now we have one married couple in an apartment, which left three vacant.”

 

The three vacant apartments could not stay vacant, so Residence Life filled the living spaces with other students.

 

“The way we decide it is we look at seniors first with a grade point average of a 3.5 or 3.0, and if no seniors with that grade point average are interested, then we go down to juniors, but then we cut it off at that,” said Somers.

 

Sheena Young, a senior from Stafford, Va., has been in an East River apartment since the start of the spring semester and said she is thrilled.

 

“I love it,” said Young. “It’s amazing! It’s really nice to have a designated sleeping area and to be able to say, ‘Okay, I’m getting annoyed with homework, I’m going to go take a nap for a minute’ and just leave the room and not have to look at the homework.”

 

Having the opportunity to live in an East River apartment comes with a price tag.

 

“An apartment in East River Hall is $4,800 for ten months and $2,400 per semester,” said Somers.

 

An apartment does cost money, but not for Sara Hubble, East River Resident Hall Director.

 

“Mine comes with my job because I’m the Resident Director of the building,” said Hubble.

 

To help with costs, married students and students who live in apartments don’t have to purchase meal plans because they have a kitchen, which it makes sense for them to use.

 

“I don’t have a meal plan,” said Young. “I’m pretty sure I’m eating cheaper now than with a meal plan, just based on my groceries. The regular groceries are between $20 and $50 a week, if I go every week.”

 

Tony and Jackie Puglisi, newlyweds and the first married couple to live in an East River apartment, have a meal plan.

 

“We actually decided to go ahead and do a smaller meal plan,” said Jackie. “For the most part we’ll eat in the cafeteria. It works because I don’t always have time to cook. When I do have the time, I love to cook. We have breakfast in the apartment every morning.”

 

Another feature of the apartments helps to reduce costs.

 

“It came fully furnished, which saved a lot of hassle because we didn’t have to go out and buy a couch,” said Jackie.  “There’s a whole desk with a bookshelf, kitchen table with chairs, stuff that we didn’t have to buy.”

 

Living in an apartment has a luxury that most college students do not have: space and privacy, which is something that The Puglisis, Young, and Hubble say is their favorite part of their apartments.

 

“I like that fact that we kind of get the best of both worlds because we’re here on campus with all the other students, but at the same time we have our own private place that’s just ours,” said Tony. “You don’t have to share a bathroom with anybody and we have our own living space.”

 

Young agreed.

 

“I’m pretty much an introvert,: she said, “and I like to be able to close my door and unless somebody knocks on it and even if they do, it doesn’t mean I have to answer it.  Even in one of the single rooms you have a suite mate and it’s not a completely private space and even if you love your suite mate to death, it’s nice to be able to close the door and know that the only person who’s getting in that door has a key and that’s limited to RA staff and maintenance people. “

 

Hubble said she appreciates the abundant storage space in the apartments.

 

Tony and Jackie Puglisi are experiencing the opportunity to live in a dorm building with a bunch of college students, and so far, seem to be enjoying the lifestyle.

 

“I like it a lot,” said Jackie.  “I like the convenience of being near friends. The walking distance isn’t bad. It’s nice. Sometimes I think I take it for granted and don’t realize how good we have it. We have a kitchen and things that some people don’t have.”

 

Her husband, Tony, said he enjoys some aspects of dorm living, while others he’s not as fond of.

 

“We have our own off campus living environment while still living on campus,” Tony said.  “There are times when it becomes painfully obvious that we are still on a college campus, people running by the apartment door, screaming at 3 a.m., people practicing dance routines on the floor above us at 2 a.m., and the occasional fire drills.”

 

If you are interested in an apartment, and meet the necessary requirements, contact Kelly Somers.

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