LOWELL -- Students living in UMass Lowell's new Riverview East Suites may rarely need to leave their dorm rooms.
That's because the new addition to the building features lab space, 10 classrooms, even a game room all built into the place where they live.
The university celebrated the opening of the second phase of Riverview Suites, which houses an additional 300 students on the school's South Campus. The building incorporates classrooms and even a living-learning community for health students.
The addition, which now makes the building 250,000 square feet, was hailed as the first publicly-privately built residence hall in the state that will also bring good things to the neighborhood.
"We embrace the quality of our students and we've increased the way that we've retained our students," said Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney. "We've done that by improving the quality of their experience, especially by developing suites like these that offer students very important living-learning opportunities."
Jonathan Rogers, an assistant residence director and health student, said he imagined the space would bring students together.
"I remember as a first-year student living in Leitch Hall, spending hours around the sole beat-up ping pong table on the first floor lounge, getting to know the people that would become my lifelong friends," he said.
The new Riverview East, he noted, not only had two ping-pong tables but also pool and foosball.
"Who knows, maybe by continuing the tradition of those ping-pong tables I will inspire a Riverview students to become an RA themselves," he said. "Or join another group on campus that will change their life the way Residence Life has changed mine."