NEW CLU HALL NEAR COMPLETION.
THOUSAND OAKS - Students who have been living in temporary homes off campus since school started in the fall could be moving into the newest residence hall at California Lutheran University as early as Saturday.
Construction workers Monday were putting the final touches on the $6 million facility that will house 120 students - many who have been commuting to campus until the new facility was complete.
Senior Michael Zurek said even though some of his friends say they feel crowded at on-campus dorms, he's looking forward to the new place he will share with friends.
``The residence hall is mostly for seniors and many of us lived together our freshman year,'' said Zurek, 22, who has been living in a university-owned four-bedroom home and will be a senior resident adviser at the new hall. ``We're looking forward to all being under one roof again.''
The residence hall, which does not yet have a name, will be dedicated on Oct. 27 during the university's Founder's Day celebration.
At more than 34,000 square feet, the hall will include 30 two-bedroom suites that have the feel of an apartment - complete with kitchen facilities, a patio for programs, a barbecue area and volleyball and basketball courts.
Construction on the hall began last November, and officials never set a completion date other than fall 2000, said CLU spokeswoman Lynda Paige Fulford. Although the move-in date has not yet been finalized, students could move between Saturday and Oct. 16.
Angela Naginey, assistant director of student life and residence, said the university requires students to live on campus for at least three years. Increased enrollment in recent years has required housing officials to put five students in dormitory rooms typically set up for four.
Naginey said the university rented 22 fully furnished corporate-style apartments for students in four complexes in Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley. Fulford said officials knew in July that the hall would not be completed in time for the start of school, and that temporary housing would be needed.
``The reactions were varied,'' Naginey said. ``Some students really liked the idea of living off campus for a while, and some were a little disappointed. But these apartments are nice and have pools and other amenities not available on campus. These students aren't roughing it - they're doing pretty well.''
Zurek and his three roommates are living in a four-bedroom, university- owned house that once belonged to Al Leland, a professor emeritus who was a long-time leader in the education department.
Senior Brian Domingues is living in the Village Club Apartments in Simi Valley with three other roommates. He said he's had friends over to hang out in the spa and has enjoyed his time living independently, but can't wait to move back into the residence hall.
``I noticed about a month into it how much harder the commute was,'' said the 20-year-old who drives 10 minutes to get to school. ``It's hard when I have to go to the library or when I go on campus to visit friends. I'm between jobs right now and it's hard to afford gas money. I'm definitely looking forward to going back.''
(color) Construction workers Monday work inside the yet unnamed residence hall at California Lutheran University.
Lilly Barrett/Special to the Daily News