By Cherri Gregg and Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Temple University’s new $216-million residence hall, Morgan Hall, officially opened its doors today as hundreds of students moved in for the first time.
The swanky living quarters at Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue are part of the university’s effort to woo more students onto campus.
With floor-to-ceiling windows, 41-inch flat-screen TVs, two bathrooms per apartment, and modern furniture, it’s definitely not your mother’s dorm room.
There are two residence towers, a dining hall, and a terrace with lots of green space. Upperclassmen get an extra treat: their tower rises 27 stories above the street.
“Did you see the view?” asked sophomore Michael Bonomo today. “It’s absolutely amazing.”
Olivia Calabro, a freshman, says, “It’s brand new, nothing has been touched.”
“Once I saw it had a kitchen, that’s what sold me on it,” says freshman Aviva Multz, who says she spent weeks drooling over the new facility in a virtual online tour. “It’s new, the dorms are clean and fresh, it’s modern, and it doesn’t look like a normal dorm — it looks like an apartment on the inside.”
Kevin Williams, the university’s director of residence life, says only 5,500 of nearly 40,000 Temple students live on campus. He says the university is hoping the change that with the new facility that sleeps 1,275.
“We believe that more students will want to come to this type of experience,” says Williams. “This puts Temple on the map, like no other experience puts Temple on the map when it comes to living on campus.”
Michael Scales, associate Vice President of Student Affairs, adds that there are fireplaces and audio visual technology.
“Amenities mean something to students. It also allows us to be able to set up the environment so there is less they need to purchase and bring on the campus,” Scales says.
In addition to nice living facilities, there’s high-tech security at the door, a large dining facility featuring popular dining options such as Tony Luke’s, modern common spaces, and much, much more.
But there’s a cost: $10,000 a year, on top of tuition.
“Our lowest hall is about $6,000 a year, so there is some variation in cost and age of facilities on campus,” says Williams, who notes the oldest facility is 53 year old. “It’s a different type of student that wants to live here.”
Meal plans are optional in Morgan Hall because there are two-burner flat surfaces and a convection oven in each apartment kitchen.
But even with the hefty price tag, many parents say they are sold.
“I lived in a dorm for a year — it was a little more rustic,” says Alan Multz, Aviva’s dad. “I didn’t live at this level for a long time after college, but I’ll be visiting a lot.”
“At first I said we’re absolutely not going to Temple,” recalls Judy Bonomo of Quakertown, Michael’s mother. “But when I toured and saw all the security and fabulous lighting, I loved it.”
But even though Morgan Hall offers different amenities for students, one thing always remains the same on “move-in” day.
“I know my mom is going to be a wreck when she leaves,” Calabro said.
“Don’t make me cry,” her mother replied.