HERE, Quad Lodges provide students winter respite


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NDWorks recently caught up with Karen Kennedy, director of student centers, activities and events, and Jennifer McGuire, program director, special events, to ask them about the new North and South Quad Lodges recently erected for students. Much like Library Lawn and South Lawn did in the warmer months, the lodges give students a safe place to rest, unwind, study and socialize. Here’s everything you need to know about the lodges:

What are the Quad Lodges?

The lodges are large tent structures with glass side panels that were constructed at the start of the semester to serve as an extension of the type of lounge space we have in our student centers. South Lodge was designed with a ski lodge feel, and features Ping Pong and Putt-Putt. North Lodge was designed with a cozy art house feel, and has shuffleboard and darts. Both lodges have games and blankets available to borrow, as well as fire pits around them. 

How did the idea for Quad Lodges come about? 

Knowing how popular the Library and South Lawns were in the fall and how challenging the cold winter months would be, we were committed to find solutions for the start of this semester. A great team was involved in researching a variety of options over the second half of the fall semester, and a final decision on the lodges was made before Christmas break, with many details falling into place in January, before the start of the semester. 

Are more lodges planned?

We aren’t planning for additional lodges, but we are planning for a return of Library and South Lawns when the weather warms up!

Did you use some of the same furniture from the summer? What other furniture/accessory pieces are in there?

For both lodges, we started with the Adirondack furniture from the lawns, but given the square footage of the lodges, we had to obtain additional pieces from our Amish partners in Shipshewana. We knew it would be a good investment as the furniture will be used for the lawns later this spring. We also wanted to bring dynamic pieces into the lodges to really add a “wow” to the project. We really wanted chairs that swing as we learned that the health benefit of a pendulum motion of the chairs stimulates the cerebral cortex which increases the person's ability to concentrate. This can be beneficial for reading, studying, working or even meditation. We discussed many different options and found that egg chairs were the perfect solution.

Moreover, with the South Lodge's ski lodge concept, we wanted lots of wood elements to convey an Alpine, chalet-feel. And that's when we enlisted Irish Woodworks to help bring the vision to life. The Irish Woodworks team was an incredible partner and contributed great ideas and some original pieces to the project, from the “house booths” to the A-frames, they are all amazing custom pieces. The “cubes” in the North Lodge are truly pieces of art —  the proverbial "icing on the cake."

How big are the lodges?

The South Lodge is roughly 12,000 square feet or 82’ x 148’, while the North Lodge is 6,400 square feet or 40’ x 160’. (Note: 12,000 square feet is about a quarter of a football field or the size of the average CVS). 

How many people does each lodge accommodate?

The maximum capacity for South Lodge is 175 and 131 for North Lodge.

Are there food/dessert amenities to accompany the lodges?

Eating is not permitted in the lodges, so we aren’t serving food in or around it. Students are able to bring in their own (non-alcoholic) drinks. 

How can students be sure it’s safe to congregate in the lodges, given COVID-19 concerns?

The Quad Lodges are tied into the University’s steam heat system, which ensures both warmth and air circulation. The University has conducted studies to make sure the air is circulating and measuring the number of air changes per hour to ensure the Quad Lodges are safe for the activities planned inside them.

Do students need to wear masks while in the lodges?

Yes, masks are required at all times in the lodges.

What are the days/hours of operation?

The lodges are open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Wednesday; 10 a.m. to midnight Thursday; 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday; noon to 2 a.m. Saturday; and noon to 11 p.m. Sunday. 

Can student groups reserve space in the lodges? Is any programming planned? 

The Quad Lodges remain open for all students to enjoy, so student groups may not reserve them for activities. We’re interested in bringing in more casual programming as the semester progresses, but for now students are making great use of the Ping Pong, Putt-Putt, darts, shuffleboard and board games available for check out. 

How have students and parents responded to the lodges?

The reception on social media from students, parents and others has been positive, and the in-person reactions from students have been tremendous. We love seeing students make use of the spaces! 

What is the advantage of having the winter lodges?

The lodges have provided great spaces for our students to be together and hang out outside of their residence halls. The awesome design elements bring joy when inside or even when just walking by the structures on the quad. We are really grateful to the University for investing in the lodges and to the talented team who designed and are overseeing them. 

What is your favorite piece that was included in the lodges? 

Jennifer: There are so many pieces that have stories behind them. We were very intentional in selecting every item in the lodges. I love our faux fire pits at night (such a cool visual), I adore artwork from Multicultural Student Programs and Services and some additional pieces contributed by our very talented students, but most of my favorite pieces are those which Irish Woodworks created for us. The team took my initial concepts and really ran with them. My favorite piece in South Lodge is the A-frame mountain range. That is the signature piece that really embodies our ski-lodge theme. But then North Lodge came to life and, hands-down, my favorite pieces are the "cubes."

Karen: I’m partial to the pieces that bring activity into the space — the custom dart boards in North Lodge are nearly always in use at night, as is the nine-hole Putt-Putt golf course in South Lodge. I also love having the fire pits right outside the lodges, and look forward to seeing students get more use out of them now that we’ve started to thaw out from the frigid temps.