A new residence hall is going up at Troy University, but with a twist. It's being called a values-oriented dorm, and it's part of a new partnership with Saint Martin of Tours.
The $11.8 million project, which broke ground last month, will include more than 370 beds, a common area, a chapel, and a Newman Center, which will provide a priest to counsel students and answer their questions. There are similar programs in place at hundreds of universities across the country, but Troy's is the first to include a Newman Center in a residence hall.
Dr. John Schmidt, Senior Vice Chancellor for Troy, says the university got the idea after the National Survey of Student Engagement showed 70 percent of Troy students rank spiritual wellness as very important to them. "We believe this will fill that niche...for students who want to discuss their faith and grow in their spiritual values," he said.
Father Den Irwin is a pastor at the local parish, and he says he's gotten a great response from students and parents. "Students, when they get to college, ask questions. Why am I here, what's going on, what am I supposed to do? So we want to be a part of that decision making, and make a proposal to them, you know, this is the way to live a good life," he said.
Although Newman Centers are traditionally Roman Catholic, students do not have to be members of the church to live in the new dorms. Construction should be completed by Spring, and the residence hall will open in Fall 2013.