Residential students from both Lakeshore and Southeast will finally be able to enjoy several new facilities this year with the opening of Dejope Residential Hall and the Gordon Dining and Event Center.

“Dejope,” a term meaning “four lakes” in the native Ho-Chunk language, is phase one of a two-phase Lakeshore development project, which began construction in February 2011. The hall had a budget of $47.6 million, none of which came from state aid.

According to Director of University of Wisconsin Housing Paul Evans, none of the expenditures in the university housing department are part of the university’s budget because they are funded through the revenues generated from room rates, dining programs and summer programs.

“There are no state dollars in any of these projects,” Evans said. “There are no tuition dollars in any of these projects, and there are no students segregated fees dollars in these projects. The state cuts have not impacted and would not impact this development.”

UW Division of Housing has plans for development through 2020, including renovations to the interiors of Sellery, Witte and Elizabeth Waters Halls, according to UW Division of University Housing spokesperson Brendon Dybdahl.

The Lakeshore development project, an effort to minimize residence hall waiting lists, is currently continuing construction with phase two, a second Lakeshore residence hall to be built on Lot 32 behind the present Kronshage building.

“We still have over 200 students on a waiting list, which we were unable to get in on campus housing for this fall, and we are waiting for next fall for phase two to open,” Evans said. “The Lakeshore development project provides us a way to say to incoming students that if you would like to live on campus, we do have space for you.”

Dejope, which opened in August, will provide housing for 408 students. However, Evans said the building is more than just a dormitory. UW Housing Administrator Jeff Hinz added it will be a place in which students will be pleased to live. 

The building is also home to a branch of University Health Services – to increase its access to Lakeshore residents – as well as UW classrooms and a dining hall.

“This is more than just a residence hall,” Evans said. “We also took this opportunity to build a brand new – and replace an aging – dining facility which was previously located in Holt Commons.”

Frank’s Place, one of the main Lakeshore dining facilities, is currently closed for construction and has been replaced with Dejope’s Four Lakes Market.

According to Evans, food service and dining is the number one reason students return to residence halls, according to polls, and Four Lakes Market proved to be an opportunity to keep up with the students’ demands.

“It is important for us to keep up with what they are demanding and expecting from the modern food service, and that is certainly not something unique at UW-Madison,” Evans said. “This is a national trend to offer a lot of choices.”

However, according to Evans, a lot of what is offered at Four Lakes Dining and Gordon Dining and Event Center is not a complete transformation of the UW dining program. Rather, the new facilities provide an opportunity to enhance the previous dining program to more easily offer variety in food choices, he said, emphasizing that it has not been developed from scratch, but instead is a growth on an older dining model.

With the construction of Dejope and the reconstruction of Gordon Commons into Gordon Dining and Event Center, UW Housing also took the opportunity to work with a design company, Canon, to create UW dining branding, Dybdahl said.

Through the names of specific dining options, students will be able to obtain familiarity and consistency across campus dining, Evans said.

Evans found the branding to be a great way to introduce students to UW history. For example, Flamingo Run, the convenience store found in both Dejope and Gordon’s and eventually across campus, is named after the 1979 event in which plastic flamingos were placed all across Bascom hill, Evans said.

The name Dejope is also another attempt at publicly recognizing the historical significance of American Indians and the variety of tribes native to the Madison area.

“To educate students who come in here each year as they ask the question, ‘Why is this building named Dejope? What does that mean?’ We then would have the opportunity to introduce them to the historical importance of this location,” Evans said.

According to Dybdahl, Dejope and Gordon also represent a shift toward a more “green” approach to campus construction.

Both buildings include a number of features to embody a more environmentally friendly facility. Electronic display screens replace paper flyers; green roofs and efficient kitchen fans are additional innovations.

The university is also weighing out the cost-benefit analysis of adding more solar panels across campus, as seen on Dejope Hall, Dybdahl said.

Dejope Hall and Gordon Dining and Event center are now open to the public. Gordon’s official grand opening took place Aug. 30.