(WBIR-Knoxville) The University of Tennessee is bringing its dorms into the 21st century through technology.
Fred D. Brown Jr. Residence Hall is UT's first new residence hall in 45 years. It is part of a project to renovate every dorm on campus and could be used as a model for technology in future dorms.
A resident needs his/her student identity card to gain access to his/her dorm room. Staff also has access to the rooms but the keypad tracks who enters.
"It's just easy because you don't have to worry about losing a key because you always have your little card on you," said Sarah Henson, a freshman living at Fred D. Brown Jr. Hall.
Common spaces include better access to outlets for laptops. According to UT Executive Director of Housing Dr. Frank Cuevas, it is the first residence hall on campus to use electronic messaging boards for alerts.
It is also the first dorm to have SMART boards in small classrooms. More than 300 of the students living at Fred D. Brown Jr. Hall are part of the Chancellor's Honors Program. The classrooms could potentially be used for those honor students.
"This is the first new one in 45 years and it's really the beginning of a capital campaign we're going to be doing over the next 5 years where we're going to transform all of campus housing," Dr. Cuevas said.
The technology inside the residence hall is also helping students with their laundry. Before heading to the laundry room, residents can look online to see if a machine is available. Then, they can find out through text or online when their laundry is finished.
"My brother, he goes to Chapel Hill and he said one time he was doing his laundry and I guess it was done and someone just took it out and dumped it on the ground because he didn't know when it was going to be done. So it's kind of cool that you can see ahead of time when it will be done," said Lauren Kataja, a UT freshman and resident of Fred D. Brown Jr. Hall.
According to Dr. Cuevas, the residence hall can house up to 700 students.
This residence hall also has some of the most surveillance cameras; 96 cameras monitor the 250,000 square foot facility.
UT's big move-in day is this Saturday. About 3,500 students are expected to move in.