Hailed as the “new modern living and learning environment,” recently opened Ridgeview Hall is a three-story, apartment style residence hall with 225 beds, a seminar room, faculty apartments, study lounges and Ridgeview exclusive Skype rooms. This $33 million project has been in the works since 2008 and overlooks a beautiful view of New Paltz’s Shawangunk Ridge.
Ridgeview Hall is home to a new café, “The Roost,” which offers comfortable seating in a contemporary environment. Second-year international business major Saidul Alam, Resident Assistant (RA) at Ridgeview, said that The Roost is a great place for first-year, transfer and returning students alike to gather and meet their neighbors. Alam described the developing community in Ridgeview as a positive environment where the RAs create many programs for residents to attend and mingle. According to Alam, these programs have outstanding attendance and success.
“One of our RAs created a program where for each cookie the resident ate, brought by the RA, they had to go into the lounge and speak for three minutes about themselves to the other participants,” Alam said. “We ended up having over 60 residents attend.”
The inside architecture of Ridgeview can be described as modern and sleek. The halls have chic curved walls to create a mod atmosphere. At the same time, Ridgeview projects a “home-like” feel with its clean, carpeted floors and proximity to a place to hang out and eat. Residents say this “home-like” atmosphere makes missing home more bearable, which is a very important attribute for first-years and those prone to homesickness.
“Ridgeview is like living in a hotel. It’s comfortable and lavish, much nicer than I had anticipated it to be,” said second-year finance major Fadi Rabie. “Coming back for my sophomore year has been welcoming.”
“The College remains committed to our critical need for safe, proximate, high-quality apartment-style housing for our students, faculty and staff,” said President Donald P. Christian in response to questions concerning Ridgeview’s level of relief for limited housing. “SUNY New Paltz is at or near the bottom of SUNY comprehensive colleges in the number of beds per student, even with the opening of Ridgeview Hall. We will continue to explore options available to us.”
Back in March 2015, New York State Supreme Court of Ulster County Justice Michael Melkonian upheld the Town of New Paltz’s right to approve site plans based on financial impacts to the community. On those grounds, Melkonian rejected the real estate developer Wilmorite Incorporated’s proposed 256-unit SUNY New Paltz dormitory project, Park Point, to be built on town land on Route 32. This project publicy aimed to alleviate the cramped student housing which SUNY New Paltz grappled with, as there was more demand from students to live on campus than there are available dorms.
In an article from the Times Herald Record, Christian said, “We’re still in partnership with Wilmorite to see other ways we can approach this.” Therefore, the Wilmorite partnership may be an option considered in the future.
For now the question of whether or not there are enough beds to accommodate every student who wishes to live on the SUNY New Paltz campus is still in limbo. Fortunately, however, the opening of Ridgeview Hall gave rooms to some students who otherwise may not have gotten them.