By Brittney Rasor

Although there are still kinks to work out, Combs Hall reopened this week after closing a little more than two years ago. Combs Hall was closed in May 2002 for renovation after student surveys informed administration a change was needed for the residence hall, according to Kenna Middleton, director of university housing.

Although renovation began last fall, planning began two and a half years ago. Finding a cost- effective design took the most time, said Middleton.

“The university is committed to providing students with affordable housing,” Middleton added.

Combs Hall is primarily an upperclass residence hall and was designed with upperclassmen in mind.

“This is one of the most exciting things I’ve been involved in,” Middleton said. “That building has new life.”

There is a full kitchen on each floor, a small computer room and more stylish furniture including brushed nickel handles.

Some Combs Hall residents have yet to see their more stylish furniture. There were no dressers when sophomore political science major, Jeremy West, 21, moved in a week ago.

Since West moved in, dressers were installed in about half the rooms, according to James Street, director of Facilities Services. Manufacturers caused the dressers to be delayed, Street added.

Junior speech therapy major Shannon McCloud, 20, and West were both disappointed there was no elevator in Combs Hall.

Students have helped each other move in because there is no elevator, McCloud said.

An elevator was not a necessity and was not cost-effective, according to Middleton.

Freshman arson and explosion investigating major, Alex Grant, 18, was excited Combs Hall had good air conditioning. New windows provide better installation and keep the building cooler, said Middleton.

Grant also enjoys that Combs Hall is more secluded. “It is quieter at night,” he said.

Combs Hall is the first of many planned renovations. Administration has a 10-year plan to evaluate and renovate each residence hall for what it needs, said Middleton.

New residence halls will need to be built as enrollment increases, Middleton added. The renovation budget for Combs Hall was $3.25 million. The entire amount has not been spent but will be spent before the completion of the project, according to Street.

A double occupancy room in Combs Hall costs $1,104 a semester and a private room costs $1,693. Rooms are not suite-style, but the cost is the same. The extra amenities offered in Combs Hall have caused the residence hall to be more expensive, according to Middleton.

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