August 30, 2012
By Diane Hageman
Abby Roche was as excited as someone holding a winning lottery ticket as she moved into Centennial Commons.
"This is amazing," Abby said as she and her mom, Nancy, made their way through her townhome for the first time Aug. 22. "I can't believe this is college housing."
Both were delighted as they examined the cupboard space, checked out the washer and dryer and dropped off totes in the kitchen and Abby's room.
"I wanted to live in Centennial Commons because it's brand new and conveniently close to campus," said Abby, a communication major from Hayward, Wis. "I really like how it maintains a sense of community. It's in a great location and we still get to see everyone."
The new townhomes proved to be so popular that students had to take part in a lottery system to be assigned to Centennial Commons.
Shannon Murphy, CSB senior nursing major from Phoenix, Ariz., was feeling pretty lucky that she and her three roommates had a high enough number in the lottery to land in Centennial Commons.
"This is one of the most beautiful, amazing places I've lived in. It's hard to describe how nice it is," she said. "It's definitely a step up and we'll be more independent. It feels like I am living off campus."
Both Roche and Murphy moved in a few days before official move-in day Aug. 26, when the majority of students returned to a bustling campus.
On move-in day, boxes and plastic bins stacked high on moving carts, orientation leaders clad in lime-green t-shirts were hard to miss, and smiles and chatter abounded. It was hard not to notice Centennial Commons, the new townhome-style housing, which took shape across College Avenue over the summer.
"We were here a couple of weeks ago and peeked in the windows. It's a lot bigger when you're inside of them," noted Emily Gasperlin, a CSB senior English major from Chanhassen, Minn. She and roommates Sydney Klinker, a CSB senior management major from Little Falls, Minn., and Ryan Longley, a CSB senior biology major from Lakeville, Minn., were busy unpacking boxes and hanging clothes as they talked about the new housing.
"I love it so far. It's pretty cool for us to be the first to be living here since we are the centennial class at Saint Ben's," Klinker said. "I knew I wanted to live on campus all four years. This is great - who wouldn't want to live here? It's really going to give us a competitive edge."
All three had studied abroad last spring so they had to put their faith in one of their friends, who served as a proxy for the lottery system.
"At first she tricked us with an email saying that we hadn't gotten in to Centennial Commons and that we were going to be in Luettmer. It kind of freaked us out," Longley said, "But then she sent another email saying, 'Just kidding!'"
"I am really thankful Saint Ben's built this place. I think we are going to have a great year," Klinker said.
Longley quipped, "We might not leave!"
Location: College of Saint Benedict, 300 College Ave. S., St. Joseph.
Dedication: Friday, Sept. 28, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Description: Two-story, townhome style housing for 124 students and one full-time residence director. Each fully furnished apartment accommodates four students and includes four bedrooms, two bathrooms, laundry, living room, kitchen and front porch. The housing complex also includes a Commons Building that provides the community with gathering space, study rooms, computer lab, kitchen and a multi-purpose room.
Cost with furnishings: $9,244,000.00
Total square footage: 52,167
Commons Building: 4,423
Townhomes: 1,492 per unit; 11,936 per building
Architect: DLR and Associates (Minneapolis)
General contractor: Sand Companies Incorporated (Waite Park)