The Lodge undergoes name change, renovations


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A change in management for the off-campus housing location formerly known as the Lodge has led to major renovations this summer.

In preparation for the upcoming school year, Campus Advantage — a student housing management and consulting firm based in Austin, Texas — has invested more than $500,000 on upgrades and renovations for the facility, as well as a new shuttle. The change in management also brought about a new name: Hawks Ridge.

The company acquired the property at 100 Hawk Ridge Drive on Oct. 27, 2011, for $21.2 million.

Because of large freshman classes in recent years, the UI leased the third building of the complex in 2010 to house university students to help with overcrowding in the dorms. The other two buildings are also designed as student housing but not managed by the UI.

UI Housing and Dining Director Von Stange said the lease for Building 3 will continue into the 2012-13 school year, and students will be able to use the same amenities as the other residents.

"Returning students can sign up for [the third building] as well as transfer students, but no freshmen will be placed there," he said.

The UI has not financially contributed to the renovations, yet students will be able to use all newly developed facilities and amenities.

Prior to the change in management, Hawks Ridge had many common rooms that were unoccupied, or just had tables and chairs. The upgrades and renovations were done with the residents in mind to make the common spaces more useful.

"We had a lot of unused space; a lot of it was empty," said Mike Schmitz, the building manager of Hawks Ridge.

To better use the space, a game room and cyber lounge have been integrated into the common areas. The cyber lounge will have many computers with Internet access as well as printing stations, and Schmitz said he is hopeful the systems can be set up so the residents can wirelessly print from their personal computers.

The arcade will feature free arcade video games, a new pool table, a bowling game, and darts. Both the game room and cyber lounge will be open 24 hours a day seven days a week.

In previous years, the fitness facility and spa room hadn't been used by residents. Campus Advantage officials spent $75,000 to update the fitness facility. Officials said they have also updated the spa room but did not have a final price.

In addition to improving the functionality of the complex, much of the building's interior has been re-done. All the floors and carpeting have been replaced, and every wall has been repainted. One "great room" alone cost $250,000 to renovate. There have also been renovations outdoors on the sidewalks and sprinkler systems.

Hawks Ridge management obtained the shuttle from CIT Signature Transportation, a transportation company in Ames. The shuttle service will be free for all residents of Hawks Ridge providing rides to campus and the downtown Iowa City area day and night.

"There will be no more school bus," Kayla Garrett, a Hawks Ridge employee said. "The new one looks like a limo bus."

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