AURORA, IL — A new residence hall with 70 rooms, study rooms on every floor and a fitness center has opened at Aurora University.
Before West Hall, the most recent residence hall built on Aurora University’s campus was Centennial Hall in 2011. With the newest addition, the school will now be able to house more than 750 students on its main campus, according to university officials.
West Hall housing is geared toward juniors and seniors as well as students on the autism spectrum enrolled in the university’s Pathways program. The five-story building, which also houses the Betty Parke Tucker Center for Neurodiversity on the ground floor, is designed to foster a supportive and inclusive community, officials said Sunday.
At the center of the Tucker Center for Neurodiversity is the Mesirow Learning Lab, a space for programs designed to help students develop executive functioning skills, social skills and learning strategies.
The first class of the Pathways program — which is meant to help college students with autism “reach their potential in their studies and in their careers” — starts this fall, Patch reported.
“At Aurora University, we are proud to open the doors of our inclusive institution to new groups of learners,” Jennifer Buckley, senior vice president for student success, said in a statement. “The new residence hall is an important part of the university’s effort to integrate students with autism into campus life.”
RELATED: New Dorm For Students With Autism Slated To Open At Aurora University
The residence hall was built with sensory-supportive spaces to alleviate anxiety through adjustable lighting, pale colors, flooring that reduces sound, and patterns that limit visual stimuli.
Even the artwork, set to be installed in late September, in the West Hall lobby will serve as a unique sensory experience. Unlike at most museums, residents and viewers will be encouraged to touch the artwork created by local artist Rita Grendze, who made the installation, “Promise Blooming,” by cutting and rolling wool rosettes.
A video tour of the building is available on the university’s website.
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