The Singleton House is open to students to live in for the first time during the spring 2021. The opening of these dorms will allow for more students to live on campus this semester. (Jessica Mellon/B&W)

New dorms house students during spring semester

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After months of construction, the Singleton, Hitch and Maida Houses are finally housing undergraduate students, providing them the opportunity to have a more normal second semester on campus. 

The completion of these suite style dorms has allowed Lehigh to open campus to more than just first-year students in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new dorms are located at the top of the hill next to Taylor dorm. 

I love living in the new dorms because the views from it are absolutely gorgeous” said Pedro Oliveira, ‘23, who is living in Hitch House. 

Thomas Scaringella, ‘23, is also a sophomore who moved into Hitch House. Scaringella said he appreciates the location of the new dorms, which are only a few minutes from the University Center and Linderman Library.

Scaringella said he feels the dorms are in an ideal location for when classes move back to fully in-person.

Contrasting with Lehigh’s other dorms, these new dorms differ in terms of their architecture and design. 

“It is almost like living in Ikea,” Oliveira said. “Everything is fully furnished, renovated and modern, which does not give that Hogwarts sensation as the older halls on campus, such as Dravo or M&M.” 

Unlike the other dorms on campus, the new dorms include a gym and cafe in the building. Although these areas are not currently open due to COVID-19 restrictions, Oliveira said he is excited to use them in the future.

Bailey Lipset, ‘23, who is living in Singleton, said some of the other perks of the new buildings include bathrooms in each suite, resident control of their thermostat and elevators in the building. Scaringella said one of his favorite amenities is only having to share a bathroom with your suite mate.

Another amenity in the new dorms is the laundry room. Although only one of the dorms has a laundry room, Scaringella said he likes that he doesn’t have to go outside to get to it as all of the dorms are connected.

The new dorms also include a fully renovated stainless steel kitchen. 

“Luckily for me, I am at the end of my hall, so the kitchen is literally right next to me and I use it fairly often,” Oliveira said. 

Due to the rapid rise in cases, interaction around the dorm has been limited. Oliveira said he is only allowed to see his suitemates.

Currently, students have to stay in their rooms unless it is necessary for them to leave. 

“The rooms are comfortable and give enough space so that you do not feel cramped having to stay in your room due to the current regulations,” Scaringella said.

Lipset said freshman year, she knew everyone in her hall. This year, however,  she said it has been difficult to get to know people. 

Oliveira said he enjoys being far up the hill because he is able to enjoy the peace and quiet of it. He said even though it is farther away from some buildings compared to dorms like Lower Centennial, he is still able to easily get to class. 

He said he also utilizes the busses whenever he needs to go farther down campus “so walking down to the libraries isn’t so daunting.”

Lipset, like Scaringella and Oliveira, also said she enjoys the location of the dorms. 

“It’s a little far from everything else on campus, but the walk is good exercise, so I don’t mind,” she said. 

Due to COVID-19, each resident gets their own room with movable furniture including a bed, desk, desk chair, chest of drawers and closet space.

The opening of these dorms have made it possible for more students, mainly sophomores, to come to campus and be able to enjoy the benefits of living at Lehigh.

 “Although COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of my life, I am more than grateful to be given the opportunity to live on campus this semester,” Oliveira said.

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