Dorm, eatery designed to attract campus dwellers

“Campus will welcome more than freshman this fall. The opening of the University of Akron’s newest residence hall, Exchange Street, and the newly refurbished Robertson’s Cafe will also be new to campus. Robertson Cafe, affectionately called Rob’s, underwent a major renovation over the summer.”

Campus will welcome more than freshman this fall.

The opening of the University of Akron’s newest residence hall, Exchange Street, and the newly refurbished Robertson’s Cafe will also be new to campus.

Robertson Cafe, affectionately called Rob’s, underwent a major renovation over the summer. Costing $4.6 million, Robertson Cafe is no longer a standard dinning hall.

It’s gone from a ’60s cafeteria look to a friendly, comfortable, today’s dining experience, said Ted Curtis, UA’s vice president of facilities and capital planning. We have gone from a place to eat to a place to dine.

The former, spacious one-room open cafeteria design will now have several dining spaces. It will also include a new 24-hour dining area that can seat 40. The entire dining area can seat 500 students, the same as before.

It’s not a place to feed cattle, it’s a place to meet people and friends, Curtis said. I didn’t have this when I was in school, believe me.

In line with the Landscape for Learning, Curtis also said Robertson will be the same flavor as the new stadium.

It’s a place to see and be seen, he said.

While Robertson is a familiar building on campus, Exchange Street residence hall, located on the south quad of campus, is completely new to the UA skyline.

Exchange Street is UA’s 15th residence hall. It has both apartment-style living and traditional dormitory living, similar to that in the Honors Complex. Curtis said it will house 476 students including eight resident assistants.

Curtis and project manager Bob Smalling said the Exchange street rooms are full of new and clever features.

Smalling said the areas of the building which house the shared-single style living will have a shared laundry room on each floor. These laundry rooms are unique in that when laundry is done, residents will be signaled in their rooms.

Also, Curtis said the doors to the individual rooms are the Rolls Royce of doors. The hollow metal door frames that normally resonate sound have been filled, each door has three ball bearing hinges to prevent wear and the door itself is solid wood.

In total, Exchange Street will have 75 four-bedroom apartments, and four more four-bedroom apartments that are handicap accessible. In addition, it includes five two-bedroom apartments, and four more of those that are handicap accessible.

UA will not stop there.

The university has patterned a growth plan for student housing that projects increasing occupancy to 5,000, said John Messina, director of residence life and housing. It is my understanding that the next phase of new construction would be in tandem with the stadium project and house approximately 500 students.

Currently, UA has 3,050 students assigned to reside on campus. This has UA residence halls at 102 percent occupancy.