Larry Dietz remembers high-rise dormitories. That’s what housing was called back in the 1960s, when students were content with a place to eat and sleep. Today students settle into residence halls and apartment complexes designed to continue the learning long after daily lectures have ended.

Themed floors are tied to majors, computer equipment is conveniently placed in each building, and programming helps floor mates form friendships. The result is a dynamic living and learning environment crucial to student success.

The radical shift in the name and function of housing reflects the increased expectations students bring to campus with their belongings. As ISU’s vice president for Student Affairs, Dietz knows the challenge of fulfilling the wish list.

“Why do students choose an institution? At the core of the decision is strong faculty and the academic program. But where you live and how you meet other students, the social networking—housing plays a key role,” Dietz said. “If you don’t have alternate housing like an apartment complex, you may lose students. This is what students and families expect.”

Cardinal Court had been approved before Dietz came to ISU last fall. He was pleased with the plan to create a new dimension of housing on campus. There are five floor plans in the four-story apartment buildings, including separate bedrooms and bathrooms for two or four individuals. Other options are four private bedrooms and two shared bathrooms, two shared bedrooms and two shared bathrooms, or two private bedrooms and one shared with two shared bathrooms. All apartments have a full kitchen area and are furnished.

A community center provides fitness equipment, meeting rooms, a cafe, recreational space, and a theater. Resident assistants serve as a resource for students, who are primarily sophomores.

“We remain committed to having students spend two years on campus, as this requirement enhances their retention and success,” Dietz said. Freshmen will remain in the more concentrated area of campus, where it is easier to connect academically and socially.

“Cardinal Court is again a point of pride,” Dietz noted. “Many thanks to all who worked diligently and collaboratively to produce an excellent facility that will serve students well.”