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Juniper Hall opens to mixed reviews

NMSU’s new Juniper Hall officially opened Aug. 16, 2019.  Construction delays were originally expected to prevent students from moving in on time, but students ended up being able to move in Aug. 16.

As of Sept. 20, a sign posted outside Juniper Hall bears the following message: “Please excuse our mess as we work to improve the lives of our students and campus community.” Although residents were allowed to move in Aug. 16, construction fencing still surrounds the building, which opened to mixed reviews. Ongoing construction noise, a lack of outdoor courtyard space and few recreational amenities inside the hall are among some of the complaints cited by residents. (Kokopelli photo)

Juniper Hall was built where Monagle Hall once stood. Juniper Hall can accommodate 301 students. It is set up with double-occupancy rooms where students have one roommate and share a restroom with three other students.

According to NMSU Housing and Residential Life, Juniper Hall costs residents $5,650 a year. It is not the cheapest residence hall for students, but it’s also not the most expensive choice for students. The hall is also reserved exclusively for first-year students.

There is still construction being done to the hall, specifically to the south classroom wing. Construction crews are also still working on the landscaping, which is why fencing still surrounds the building.

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Juniper Hall

Not all residents are pleased with the amenities at Juniper Hall compared to those of other halls.

“There is not much to do here like there is at Piñon or Garcia Hall. We don’t have a game room or anything,” said freshman Cesar Galindo.

Since construction around Juniper Hall is still ongoing, there isn’t a courtyard for students to hang out. Also, the common area is really only set up for students to study and do homework, whereas Garcia Hall has pool tables and a ping pong table for students. One of the biggest complaints from residents is they don’t have a place to hang out.

Some of the students living in Juniper Hall don’t find the construction bothersome, but others feel it is too loud during the day.

Construction fencing and equipment surround Juniper Hall Sept. 20, 2019. (Kokopelli photo)

Some residents indicated they like the large bathrooms, even though they have to share them with others.

Site construction started back in 2017 with the demolition of Monagle Hall. Monagle Hall was originally known as the Women’s Residence Center. It was closed to students during the fall of 2013.

Once Monagle Hall was demolished, construction of Juniper Hall started in April 2018. At this time, it is unknown as to when exactly construction will be completed.

According to NMSU spokesperson Minerva Baumann, Juniper Hall construction stayed within its $21.5 million budget. The money for the building came from revenue bonds, which are set to be repaid by students who live in the hall.

Juniper is also set to have classrooms within the hall to host university courses. This is similar to Garcia Hall, which houses classrooms for students.

Juniper Hall outdoor courtyard spaces remain under construction as of Sept. 20. (Kokopelli photo)

It’s not just Juniper Hall residents who are annoyed by the construction. Residents of neighboring Rhodes-Garrett-Hamiel either have to walk around the fencing or pass through Juniper Hall to get to their dorm.

“[Juniper] needs to be done faster. I live in RGH and I have to walk all the way around,” said freshman Olivia Herrera.

Herrera said it’s a slight inconvenience, but sometimes it can be infuriating. She indicated the construction is loud during the day and can make it hard to concentrate on studying.

Juniper Hall is set to have a courtyard upon completion. It is three stories high and students are given the option of semi-suite or shared room living. Juniper Hall has a shared laundry room along with a kitchen on the third floor for students to use as they wish.

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