Roommates Tony Sanders and Daniel Luciano marveled at their new surroundings during move-in day Wednesday at Spartan Village, UNCG’s new apartment-style housing for upperclassmen.

A full kitchen with granite countertops, handsome wood cabinets and sleek new appliances. A spacious counter with bar stools. A flat-screen TV and loveseat in the living room. Free washers and dryers. A 24-hour clubhouse with pool table and gaming stations.

“It is definitely two steps above everywhere I’ve lived,” said Sanders, a senior from Winston-Salem who is majoring in psychology, with minors in criminology and Spanish.

“The best has to be the kitchen set-up. We had just the basics in other dorms or had to share a kitchen with an entire floor. This gives me a chance to start cooking if Mom will let me have some pots and pans and skillets.”

A smile crept across Dereace Sanders’ face. “Where are the smoke detectors?” she joked.

Luciano, a sophomore from Fairfield, Conn., was equally impressed with his apartment in Lee Hall.

“My dad and I watched the video while it was under construction, but seeing it in person is so much better than I thought,” he said.

Sanders and Luciano had a special visitor to their new digs on Wednesday. After giving her annual State of the Campus address in the morning, Chancellor Linda P. Brady changed from a suit to shorts and spent the afternoon touring Spartan Village and visiting with its new residents.

“This is incredible,” Brady said. “It’s nothing like what I lived in when I was in college.”

Emily Nanna, a coordinator for residence life, was marveling too — at the high numbers of upperclassmen moving in on opening day. Most trickle in during the week leading up to the start of fall classes.

“We’re 60 percent full,” Nanna reported at 2 p.m. “I was hoping for that for the whole day.”

Move-in day at Spartan Village, the first wave of student move-ins that will continue through the weekend leading up to the first day of classes on Monday, was not without its challenges. The elevator in Haywood Hall broke down for a while, which meant some students and their families moved in the old-fashioned way — by hauling boxes up the stairs.

But not for long. “You can’t afford elevators to be down on move-in day,” said Tim Johnson, UNCG’s director of Housing and Residence Life. “We keep a repair company on call.”

Three of Spartan Village’s four buildings — Haywood, Lee and Union halls — opened to students on Wednesday. Highland Hall, the fourth building seriously damaged by a construction-related fire in March, is being rebuilt and should be ready to open in January, Johnson said.

The $52.5 million, university-owned Spartan Village complex includes 800 beds and space for offices and retail. It is the first phase in UNCG’s expansion into the West Lee Street Corridor, which also will include a new station for UNCG Police and a pedestrian underpass beneath the railroad corridor. Future phases of the project call for a new student recreation center.

The expansion syncs with Greensboro’s revitalization plan for the High Point Road/West Lee Street Corridor, a main entry point and thoroughfare in the city, and is expected to spur significant economic development in the area.

Story by Betsi Robinson

Photography by Chris English, University Relations