Story by Dorene Dinaro

With the completion of recent renovations to Hokona Hall, Residence Life and Student Housing has continued its focus on making improvements to Student Family Housing (SFH). The goal of these improvements is to increase the students' academic achievement and retention at the university while promoting student comfort and satisfaction in their on-campus residential community.

Recent improvements to the facility include new roofs, an upgraded fire alarm safety system, new floors and new bathtubs in some of the units.

According to Patrick Call, director of Residence Life and Student Housing, the next steps under consideration include replacing the current single pane aluminum frame windows with more energy efficient windows, and working on landscaping and the current HVAC system.

Student Family Housing, whose priorities are to serve student families first and then graduate students, has 200 units with four different floor plans including single story "flats" with one or two bedrooms, and two story "townhouses" with two or three bedrooms.

SFH residents include a diverse group of single parents, married graduate couples and married 18-year-old freshmen, among others. Although SFH is not physically located on the UNM Main Campus, Call says that Teresa Ortiz, SFH coordinator, and her staff have added many activities to make its residents feel like they are as much a "Lobo" as main campus residents are.

"We have been working to create an identity for our residents," Ortiz says. "We try to instill the fact that they are still UNM students, they just live closer to the stadium, so let's all cheer on the Lobos."

In addition to the facility changes, SFH employees have added several new activities for residents, making the complex feel much more like a community. "We did a few things in the past, but with the recent changing and rearranging of staff, we have been able to see that community blossom," Call says. "Teresa and her staff have really hit the ground running."

Ortiz says that many of their residents struggle financially, and in addition to trying to help them save money on necessities, she has added things to make their academic lives a little easier also. For the fall, she has arranged to have the administration building open from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Thursdays to provide a quiet place for students to study; and is working to have CAPS employees host tutoring sessions on-site during mid-term and finals week.

"The changes like the free washers and dryers have helped our family save money and at the same time it makes us feel more like the University cares more about us by helping make life a little bit easier," says resident Paula Webb, a student in the Business Administration program.

Ortiz has also focused her attention to adding free, fun, educational, and family-oriented events which change depending on the season. Currently, family activities include a family outing to a UNM football game with a pre-game tailgate at the complex, a SFH movie night at the SUB movie theater, and a mobile visit from the Albuquerque Aquarium.

"The new activities are great," Webb says. "My favorite ones are for the children which allow them to have fun, play with friends and allows parents to get to know each other better and become friends too."

Residents can also become part of the Parent Circle Support Group as a way to get to know other residences in the complex and feature speaker series including Master Teachers from the UNM Children's Campus.

Webb says this is a great way to escape some of her academic pressures. "The get togethers are fun little excuses to get away from homework and allows us to have some fun while getting to feel more like a community," she says.

To find out more information about Student Family Housing call, (505) 277-4265. Individuals can also visit, Residence Life and Student Housing or contact its office at, (505) 277-2606.

Lobo Village Construction on Schedule

Construction is currently on schedule for the new 12,000-sq.-ft. Lobo Village housing community located off just west of University Arena. This facility will offer floor plan designs including fully furnished, four private-bedroom apartment-style units with full-size beds (864 in total), private bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and washers and dryers. American Campus Communities (ACC) is the developer, builder and operator of Lobo Village.

Lobo Village is slated to open to undergraduate upperclassmen in the fall of 2011, but Walter Miller, associate vice president for UNM Student Life, says ACC already received more than dozen requests from students interested in living there.

"The input from many students has helped us finalize a design that students have been requesting, especially upperclassmen," says Miller.

By mid-October, a sales office for the Lobo Village will be located in the Student Union Building. To find out more information on this project visit: Lobo Village.