North Halls' Special Living Options offer newly renovated suite-style residences to students

October 09, 2007

University Park, Pa. -- Students, faculty and staff celebrated the grand re-opening of North Halls Tuesday (Oct. 2), located on campus at the corner of Park Avenue and Shortlidge Road. After mingling and eating various treats provided by Penn State's food services, several staff members spoke of the significance of the newly renovated residence halls, which provide special living options for students looking to incorporate their academic interests with their housing environment.

"The Special Living Option allows students to interact with faculty from those [specialized] areas outside of the classroom," explained Stan Latta, assistant vice president of housing, food services and residence life. "They also will have the opportunity to interact more with visiting lecturers and scholars in their area of interest."

The three renovated North Hall buildings -- Leete, Holmes and Runkle -- provide specialized living environments and multi-purpose areas for arts & architecture majors, business majors and students interested in environmental and agricultural issues. Leete Hall, for example, has an art studio with art tables donated by the art department, special paneled flooring that is inexpensive to replace in case of paint spills, and a large utility sink in the corner. Music practice rooms furnished with a piano, music stands and instrument stands are also in Leete. All students residing in the North Halls buildings have card access to each building to be able to access all of the facilities offered.

Sean Agnew, area coordinator for North Halls said students voiced their desire to live in suite-type housing -- sets of two bedrooms that share a bathroom and a common living area. Over the past three years, engineers, contractors, architects and other Penn State staff worked to redesign the three North Hall buildings. In addition to the different multi-purpose rooms and the suites, study lounges were refurbished and bike storage rooms were added. Each residence hall also has wreless Internet access and a general kitchen for residents' use.

Senior Adam Burget of Altoona is a residence assistant in Leete Hall majoring in communication arts and sciences. While giving tours of the new improvements, he discussed the benefits of Special Living Options.

"It's a good atmosphere for holding educational programs," he said. "It's a great place to live and work."

Mark Rameker, associate director of residence life, describes the Special Living Options as a collaborative effort made for students' success. Lynn Dubois, director of ancillary services for housing and food services, said research shows students who live in such an environment tend to do better in their majors and stick with their course of study.

Photos are available at:

There are 18 special living options residence halls on the University Park campus, offering a wide variety of specialties. For more information about Penn State's Special Living Options please visit online.

  • The new art studio in Leete Hall is one of many renovations North Hall residents can now use.

    IMAGE: Greg Grieco
Last Updated November 18, 2010