Even a week after the grand opening of Foley Hall, Castleton University’s newest residence hall, it still has the apartment equivalent of that new car smell.
Daniella Doolen, a junior at Castleton and the apartment manager at Foley Hall, has a lot of responsibility in her new role, but said she loves having the opportunity to live in the new space.
“I’m the only one for 37 people, which is a lot different than CA’s in a dorm because there are tens of people watching over you in a regular dorm. Here, we are a lot more independent and I think the students like that,” she said.
Doolen lives in a single apartment in the building, but most of the apartments have two rooms and some have more.
“Everyone has their own room so we have a lot more privacy than in dorms, but we still open our doors and hang out. There are no cliques here. We’ve become a little family,” she said.
One of the biggest differences from living on campus is that many of the students living in the apartments don’t have meal plans and have to cook on their own. The apartments each have a small stove, regular-sized refrigerator, sink, and soft-close cabinets.
Doolen had fruit on the counter, a microwave, coffee pot and toaster in her kitchen area. She also has a slow cooker for making foods like chili.
“On campus, we just go to Huden when we get hungry. Here, we have to make our own food,” she said.
So far, there haven’t been any major issues in the apartments other than having to fend for themselves on the food front.
“Last week, one of the washers was leaking from detergent pods and I didn’t know how to fix it,” Doolen said, adding that the issue was easily taken care of by Student Life.
So far, only one person has moved out of the apartments and Doolen said they left the university entirely.
Zach Dow wishes the apartments were a little quieter.
“Today I was trying to take a nap and got woken up three times by someone’s exhaust,” he said.
The apartment building is on the corner of West Street and Merchants Row in Downtown Rutland, which is a busy area.
Another issue he’s finding is the bus schedule because it only runs to Castleton at certain times.
“It’s somewhat inconvenient,” said Dow.
Even though he has some complaints, Dow also said there are positive things about living in Rutland.
“It’s nice to get away from campus. Don’t get me wrong, I like being with my friends, but not all the time,” he said.
Students have the opportunity to get away from campus because Castleton is growing to be too big for its residence halls.
“We knew we’d have a crunch for on-campus housing this year,” said Scott Dikeman, dean of administration, who helped make the apartments a reality.
Dikeman said that the residence halls are all full on campus and the apartments are also going to be fully booked by spring semester.
“There are 39 beds and right now we have 38 full,” he said. He also said there is one more person coming for the final bed for the spring semester.
Students who are living in the apartments are paying about what they would to live in a single room on campus, according to Dikeman. He also said that the University is looking into getting more housing in Rutland since it’s been so popular and since Castleton would like to continue growing.
Castleton already has a lot going on in Rutland. There are art galleries, the Polling Institute and Spartan Arena. Many students also have internships there.
“I’m going to be doing my student teaching next year and if I end up teaching in Rutland, I could literally walk there if I wanted,” said Doolen.
Students who are spending more time working, interning or student teaching in Rutland could potentially save money on gas if they’re already living there.
Rutland businesses could have more customers, or even employees, with students living there.
"The Bakery across the street stays open later now for the students,” Doolen said.
Castleton students living in Foley Hall are doing everything they can to stay welcome in Rutland, according to Doolen.
“Everyone who lives here knows that this is a great privilege and we don’t want to jeopardize it,” she said.