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Lakeside Neighborhood completed after two years

Photo Courtesy of Rollins RecSports
The Grill in the Fox Lodge offers several dishes ranging from burgers to nutella waffles. 

All amenities in  Rollins’s Lakeside Neighborhood are online for the entire Rollins community starting this fall. Residency is at full capacity, and 50 students have been placed on a waiting list for a room in one of Lakeside’s 124 units. 

Lakeside’s construction cost $75.3 million total, paid for by $67.4 million in loans, $4.4 million in gifts, and $3.5 million in cash. 

Students have long-awaited Lakeside’s perks since the May 2019 demolition of McKean Hall and the Fall 2020 partial opening of residential halls. Rainstorms, global factory shutdowns, and COVID-19 related safety measures contributed to last year’s construction delays.

Available Lakeside amenities include a pool, fitness center and movement studio, lounge area, new dining area, and easy access to key departments like the Center for Inclusion and Campus Involvement (CICI) and Residential Life & Explorations. 

While these amenities are open to all students, faculty, and staff, the upstairs residential areas are secured by restricted R-Card access.

“I think the students have seen the value of the program and the amenities and what it’s meant,” said Dean of Students Leon Hayner. “I’m in awe about how the program has come together […] We didn’t set out to build a building. We set out to build a program.”

The Fox Lodge (Dining)

Lakeside’s Fox Lodge, a consolidated dining space, took the longest to construct “due to the coordination requirements of the kitchen,” said Jeremy Williamson, assistant vice president of Facilities Services. 

The Fox Lodge gathers the new C-Store, The Grill, and cafe into a single area for community convenience. 

The Grill offers made-to-order specialty food, including breakfast options like caramelized banana and nutella- stuffed waffles. 

In the new C-Store, students may notice a larger selection of subs and sandwiches, more fresh produce, a sports nutrition section, a soup and salad bar, and more pre-prepared meals. 

When it came to determining price tags for items at the Fox Lodge, “all prices were based on a competitive analysis” so that items are not underpriced or overpriced, said Director of Dining Services Cristina Cabanilla and Dining Services Marketing Manager Carolina Ossa. 

Both Dining Dollars and TarBUC$ are accepted for all items in the Fox Lodge. 

According to Cabanilla, vegetarian and vegan options are available at both the cafe and The Grill, and dozens of gluten-free, dairy free, kosher, and soy-free products can be found at the new C-Store.

The old C-Store and Bookmark Cafe locations have been shut down and repurposed. 

The old C-Store location has been converted into an office space for Dining Services, which was a decision based on necessity. 

“During Lakeside construction, our Dining Services managers were utilizing spare closets, offices dispersed across campus, and any other space available to attend to their administrative tasks,” said Cabanilla and Ossa. 

Hayner said that the new centralized Dining Services office will also benefit students, as they will be able to approach representatives with their R-Card and meal plan questions. 

Alternatively, the Bookmark Cafe space has been repurposed into a study space that includes pod and small group seating. 

The cafe itself has been consolidated into the Fox Lodge cafe, which will remain open from 7 am to 1 am. 

“This is a first for our campus to have something like that open that late,” said Hayner. 

The new cafe will also serve whipped coffee, “which is the latest trend in the coffee world,” said Cabanilla and Ossa. 

When asked about the reasoning behind closing Bookmark Cafe, Cabanilla and Ossa said, “A small college such as Rollins simply does not need two C-Stores and two Coffee Shops located 100 yards away from each other. It is a waste of precious facilities, space, and labor. Having these units co-located […] enhances the college’s ability to offer a greater variety of products during a wider range of operating hours.”

When asked about her opinion on the closing of Bookmark Cafe, Julia Derkowksy (23) said, “I’m a bit upset […] I enjoyed getting my coffee and doing my homework in the library, in the same space. But we’ll see how it goes.”

The Fox Lodge will also include a kitchen and cookware section through which students can buy cooking supplies for their Lakeside units. 

“We want students to see the Fox Lodge as their new space to hang out and get what they need in a one-stop shop,” said Cabanilla. “This is a space designed based on student input where the most amazing food is served.”

Students can use the Fox on the Run delivery and pickup program to easily retrieve meals on the Dining Services app. (See pg. 8 for details.)

Diversity and Inclusion

A primary function of Lakeside is being a home to several departments dedicated to serving students. These include CICI, Residential Life & Explorations, the off-campus student lounge, and the new Lucy Cross Center for Women, Gender & Sexuality. 

“These spaces work together in synergy,” said Hayner. “This was an intentional and thoughtful co-location.”

The off-campus student lounge has had many locations the last few years; after moving to Woolson House due to the Mills Memorial Hall (now Kathleen W. Rollins Hall) renovations, the Off-campus Student Association met with administration to create a permanent space in Lakeside for commuter students.

Lucy Cross has also struggled to find a permanent home at Rollins, as the director position was slashed in 2018, and its graduate assistant program was also cut. 

“When we were thinking about Lakeside, Lucy Cross was part of the forefront,” said Juan Escobar, interim director of Residential Life & Explorations. He said that this permanent location is a “safe, celebrated, inclusive, and intentional space” for all students.

“I want every student and faculty and staff to feel they have a place on campus and a person to be their champion or mentor,” said Hayner. 

Both Hayner and Escobar said that the co-location of these organizations increases visibility, accessibility, and valuable interaction between students and staff. 

Lakeside’s construction also reflects accessibility, as it is an ADA-compliant project.

“We’ve tried to think about universal design so that folks across the board of abilities might utilize this space,” said Hayner. 

Lakeside’s construction includes electric door openers, a lift at the pool, wheelchair ramps, and specific medical rooms to accomodate students who need them.

“Little decisions make huge differences,” said Escobar.

COVID-19

Depending on the trajectory of COVID-19 on campus, hours and occupancy limits of certain amenities might change, particularly in the fitness center, where the current no-staffing model allows students to access the room freely via R-Card. 

Hayner said that the COVID-19 operations team will decide whether the fitness center will require additional supervision and policies. 

Policies regarding other amenities are subject to changes as well, including the implementation of  time restricted access. 

As COVID-19 contributed to the uncertainty of construction deadlines, and residential students in 2020-2021 had to build their schedules around construction noise, Hayner and Escobar both expressed gratitude toward students who have waited for this moment.

“I want to say thank you to the students for being patient with us last year,” said Escobar. “Whether it be turning off water or testing emergency systems, the students were really understanding as we completed the project.”

The gratitude goes both ways. 

“I loved this new dorm every second,” said Derkowsky. “Thank you for making this happen and for making me want to live on campus for all four years while I’m at Rollins.”

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  1. […] residence occupancy can be attributed to multiple factors, the most notable being the completion of Lakeside Neighborhood and the reinstitution of the three-year residency mandate, said Dean of Students Leon […]

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