York Hill starting to earn college feel

Phil Nobile & Marcus Harun

Seniors and juniors living at the York Hill campus arrived this fall to find the completed Rocky Top Student Center, or “The Lodge,” finally filling a gap in the York Hill community.

The student center, which officially opened Sept. 3, features a 500-seat dining hall, a new fitness center with an array of modern equipment, multiple dance and spinning studios, study lounges, offices, a post office, and many other amenities previously unavailable directly to York Hill inhabitants.

This is a change for the new residents, after prior tenants were forced to travel to the Mount Carmel campus to receive benefits like a post office and food services.

“I spoke to kids last year, and they felt detached,” junior Dominic Adams, a York Hill resident, said. “They felt they weren’t a part of the real Quinnipiac community. It’s more complete now.”

The dining hall boasts a variety of eating stations, in an attempt to create an alternative option for York Hill residents, instead of either self-cooked food or trekking to Mount Carmel’s café. The fitness center also gives the mountain-top residents different choices for staying in shape rather than riding the 15-minute shuttle down to the main campus.

“I like the food more here; they have as many options as down on the main campus,” Casey Hebding, another junior resident, said. “The gym is smaller, but the machines are really nice. It is more updated.”

The café and gym aren’t the only new additions that students have found useful.

“For me, the new offices are a lot better,” Student Programming Board Travel Chairman Cassandra Oliver said. “We had a problem with storage at Mount Carmel, and there is a whole lot of storage now. It’s much more corporate looking.”

The aesthetics of the new center are a big draw, providing a different vibe compared to anything else at Quinnipiac.

“I think it looks really awesome,” Hebding said. “The design of it, it’s really comfy looking.”

Inspired by the Rocky Top Lodge, which was located on this site at the beginning of the 19th century, the center contains various mountain-esque visuals, including a large fireplace, winding grand staircase, and log cabin-like walls, giving off the feel of a ski lodge.

“It’s an escape,” junior resident Anna Marie Brown said.

Not everyone feels the same about the center on the $300 million York Hill campus.

“I feel like we built this whole thing and it’s empty,” junior resident Melissa Wong said. “The [Mount Carmel] café is awesome, but here, because we don’t have the entire meal plan, not a lot of people like to come.”

The center isn’t fully open as of now, but students across all three of Quinnipiac’s campuses are welcome to eat, study, and relax by the fireplace at the Rocky Top.