VERMILLION, SD (KTIV) -- College students are heading back to the books, and that means back to student living. While many upperclassmen opt to live off-campus, at the University of South Dakota, officials may have found a way to pull them back on.
The thought of college often produces images of stately, classic academic buildings, filled with learning students. Often time, living quarters, are much less elegant. The University of South Dakota's out to change that perception.
"Coyote Village is one of the premiere housing options in the state of South Dakota in the region," said USD Dean of Students James Parker.
The building opened up August 1, and looks more like a hotel. With amenities like a convenience store, coffee shop, theater room, and student apartments offering expanded privacy, it's a far cry from the old-fashioned dorm.
Parker says, "The only thing they've got to move in are their clothes, their bathroom things, their linens and their books."
When it's time to do laundry, gone are the days of grabbing a roll of quarters and hoping you have enough. The university's installed a system where students can just swipe their card, which charges their student accounts, and sends a text message when the load is done.
"It's really nice having everything convenient. Sometimes you've got to almost reserve the pool room because it's so busy," says USD junior John Wachal.
As a community advisor at Coyote Village who's helped students move in, Wachal says he's hearing a lot of excitement.
"To get people coming in here, all these, 'aah,' 'ooh,' 'oh my gosh, there's a movie theater room!'"
He says, it's a great way to keep juniors, seniors and graduate students engaged in the campus community.
Wachal says, "I feel this would be the place if you wanted to be an upperclassman and get that apartment experience. It's kind of like off-campus living with the convenience of on-campus."
"They've actually moved from off campus, on to campus because this is the environment they want," Parker said.
Coyote Village is located just south of the Dakota Dome. The nearly $27 million project will be on display with an open house this Thursday at noon.
In addition to all the amenities, the school's in the process of equipping every room with 42-inch television sets.