Magazine On-line [fall 2008]
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How Suite It Is

by William A. Bowden

Thomson Hall dedicationSunshine and clear blue skies provided a beautiful backdrop for the October 4 dedication of Thomson Residence Hall, a suite-style facility that offers upper-class students new levels of privacy and independence along with inviting social and meeting spaces.

“Thomson Hall provides students something very close to apartment-style living while still being on campus,” said President Charles L. Shearer. “It represents a forerunner of the type of housing we would like to see more of down the road at Transylvania.”

The $5.5 million, three-story, 28,000-square-foot facility, located on back circle off Fourth Street, features 31 suite-style living units, each with a living room, study area, kitchenette, bathroom, and bedroom. Modular furniture allows students to customize their bedroom with a bunk bed style or separate beds.

On the ground floor, the expanded 1780 Café, relocated from the lower level of Clay Hall, is open evenings and features a healthy menu consisting of wraps, sandwiches, flat bread pizza, salads, fruit, vegetables, fair trade coffee, smoothies, and energy and fruit drinks. Tables and booths, flat-screen televisions, and an outdoor patio have already made the 1780 a very popular gathering place.

Meeting and gathering space is abundant elsewhere in Thomson Hall and includes a lower level meeting room with a capacity of 80 as well as a spacious lounge at the end of hallways on the second and third floors.

Joe and JoAnn Thomson and daughters Kimberly and Ashlee

Joe Thomson ’66 and his wife, JoAnn, provided a generous lead gift toward the design and construction of the facility. They are owners of Winbak Farm, a Standardbred horse farm headquartered in Maryland, with operations in Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Canada. Joe is a member of the Transylvania Board of Trustees and a former member of the Board of Visitors.

“JoAnn and I are very happy and proud that we can make a contribution to help Transylvania,” Joe said in his dedication remarks. “A project like this is really enormous, and there are many other people who also made gifts so that this wonderful building could be constructed. Our hope is that those who reside in Thomson Hall will become better students by virtue of living there.”

William T. Young Jr., chairman of the board, and Molly Burchett, a senior business administration major from Prestonsburg, Ky., expressed the University’s appreciation for what the Thomsons and other major donors did to make Thomson Hall possible.

“The quality of campus facilities, especially residence halls, is an important recruiting tool in a very competitive market for college students,” Young said. “All of us here today owe a great deal of gratitude to JoAnn and Joe for providing the lead gift for this project. Generous support by alumni and friends like the Thomsons is key to Transylvania’s future.”

Burchett, who is president of the Student Government Association, said she looked forward all summer long to moving into Thomson Hall and that living there has already made her senior year more enjoyable. “Students at Transylvania greatly appreciate the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Thomson and others who have helped keep Transy one of the most distinguished liberal arts colleges in the nation.”

Environmentally friendly features of Thomson Hall
  • Insulating values that exceed state code requirements by 28 percent
  • Geothermal heating and air conditioning variable speed pump that saves 50 percent of pumping energy
  • Total energy recovery wheel on outside air ventilation system
  • Energy-saving motion sensors on corridor and laundry room lighting
  • Low flow shower heads
  • Fifty percent recycled material in parking lot surface

Thomson Hall, page 2

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