Stats: The Centennial II complex, also known as Lower Cents, is located on the east side of campus below Rathbone Dining Hall. The complex is comprised of six individual buildings: Beardslee, Carothers, Palmer, Stevens, Stoughton, and Williams. Each building houses 44-54 first-year students. Each building is co-ed, and there are co-ed and single-gender floors in this area. Stoughton and Williams each have one floor for men and one floor for women. Beardslee, Carothers, Palmer, and Stevens have co-ed halls with alternating single-gender rooms and single-gender bathroom facilities. There is a Gryphon on each floor and one Head Gryphon for the area who lives in Palmer.
Most of the rooms are doubles, and there are a few triples and quads that feature private bathrooms. Each student has a desk with desktop bookshelf, desk chair, bed, dresser, medicine cabinet with mirror, and a closet. Check out floor plans here!
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Building Profile: (By Connor Tench, Class of 2015)
I’m sure that you’ve heard this many times already (and that you’ll hear it many more times after this), but WELCOME TO LEHIGH! You’ve decided to come to a school with a competitive academic atmosphere, a rich history, a beautiful campus, and — most importantly — a diverse, intelligent, and friendly student body who are eager to have you join us this fall.
Quick intro: my name is Connor Tench. I’m originally from Allentown, PA (20 minutes away from campus), and I’ll be a sophomore this coming year, most likely majoring in computer science and minoring in music.
Keep in mind: some of what I’m going to say about my experience may be different from what you experience, because these things vary from year to year. But when I’m talking about something I know you can expect (for example, how everyone will be looking to make friends during the first few weeks and that this is a FANTASTIC time to talk to people), I’ll be sure to point it out.
First Impressions/Everyone is Looking to Make a Friend
My room was on the second floor of Beardslee; in a hall that would house about twenty people in a few days, it looked like only a few of us had moved in early. I had come to Lehigh three days before move-in day, because I was participating in a PreLUsion program (one of the programs that can get you on campus a few days early to meet some other first years). I remember meeting Erin, Vicki, and Joe that day (Joe had graduated from a high school not too far from mine, so we had been in contact before), but I think the way I met Trey epitomizes how you’ll make friends come this August.
I had just unpacked and was getting ready to explore the building when I heard somebody playing bass in a room down the hall. As a barely competent bassist myself, I couldn’t help but stick my head in and see where the music was coming from. There sat Trey, slapping his Martin acoustic.
“Hi!” I said without even thinking, still looking at the bass.
“Hey!” Trey stopped playing, stood up, and introduced himself. We talked about music stuff for a few minutes, and realized we were both in the same PreLUsion program. Trey and I spent most of the next three days together, not because we actively sought each other out, but because we were going with the flow.
Three days later, when everybody had moved in, it was impossible to miss how quickly people wanted to bond with one another and make friends. A bad thunderstorm had come through that night, and everyone ended up hanging out in the lounge and watched movies together. None of this felt forced; we all just wanted to meet the people we’d be living with for the next year.
The main point: No matter where you live, you’ll find that making friends happens more naturally than you might think. As long as you treat other people kindly, there’s no doubt you’ll meet some fantastic people who’ll be friends with you for life.
I should note that Lower Cents’ dorms find a happy medium for size: they have enough people to keep things interesting, but not more than you’ll be able to get to know personally. Other first-year residence halls have hundreds of people, and while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I always enjoyed the fact that I knew and could talk to every one of the people living in Beardslee.
Gettin’ Physical: Building Specs/Room Descriptions
For those of you living in doubles: your room isn’t going to be huge, but it will comfortably fit you and your roommate without cramping the two of you together. Each room has two beds (duh), a desk with a bookshelf on it, a chest of drawers, corkboard for hanging posters (get posters! Personalize your room!), and closet space for you to hang clothing. You’ll have a bathroom shared by all residents of the same gender on your particular floor. Co-ed people, note that men’s and women’s bathrooms are separate. You’ll be living on the second or third floor of your building.
All of the above is the same for triples and quads, except for a few things. Your rooms will obviously be bigger; you’ll also have a private bathroom for the three/four of you to share. You’ll be living on the first floor. (And, obviously, there’ll be one bed for each person living there.)
Regardless of what kind of room you have in Lower Cents, there are a few things you should consider purchasing:
- A small carpet: all bedroom floors in Lower Cents are tile, which gets a little cold in the winter. There’s nothing worse than getting up early for class and putting your bare feet on cold tile.
- A whiteboard for your door: You can use this to leave messages for your hallmates, and to have other people leave messages for you. I know that sounds a little lame, but trust me – you’ll want to have one.
- Rubbermaids or other plastic containers to organize your belongings: You’ll have less space than you expect to keep all of your stuff; organization is key, or stuff will go missing.
- Stuff to personalize your room: this can include posters, photos, small décor things you find in Kohl’s, or whatever floats your boat. Two girls on my floor put up strings of white Christmas lights along the walls, and it looked fantastic. Get creative – you’ll be living in this room for a while, so you want to make it look good!
When you’re not hanging in your room, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending time in the lounge. All Lower Cents dorms have a single lounge on the first floor, which includes couches and chairs, a really nice TV, a small kitchen (with a sink, fridge, microwave, and oven that can barely hold a single cookie sheet), some tables and chairs for studying, and either a pool table or ping-pong table (it varies by building). Your lounge will be a gathering place – people will gather to watch sports, The Voice, whatever new show the Kardashians are making, and anything else you can think of.
Gamers, rejoice: someone in your building will bring an N64 with Super Smash Brothers. There is no way this will not happen. You are going to play more of that game than is healthy for you. Those of you not familiar with Smash: you will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. (Live long and prosper!)
Right off of the lounge is a study area with a whiteboard (you’ll have to provide your own dry-erase markers), a small table, and four of the coolest spinning chairs you will ever see in your life. It’s separated from the lounge by a brick wall, but more sound is going to travel through it than you’d think. Studying in there while a lot of people are in the lounge is difficult; if you need a quiet study space and the lounge is full of people, you should head for one of the libraries.
All the laundry machines for Lower Cents are located in Stoughton. If you don’t live in Stoughton, you’re going to have to walk across the courtyard to do your wash. This is, in my opinion, the major drawback of living in Lower Cents: in order to decide when you’ll do your laundry, you’ll have to take weather into consideration. It isn’t ideal, but you get used to it. (Those of you who live in Stoughton won’t have this problem.)
Location/Why Living Far from the Center of Campus Isn’t a Bad Thing
At first glance, living on the corner of campus might seem like you’re removed from everything, but nothing could be further from the truth. You’ll just be better acquainted with other areas than most people.
With the exception of Upper Cents, Lower Cents is the closest complex to Rathbone, one of Lehigh’s two primary dining halls. This is an absolute godsend during cold, rainy, or otherwise inclement weather – just climb up a staircase and you’ll have found food!
Those of you with early morning classes: Rathbone doesn’t open until 7:30. If you want breakfast before a 7:45 lab or other early class, you should go to Cort, which is in the University Center (that big building on the front lawn with the steeple).
Additionally, Lower Cents is the closest on-campus living space to Taylor Gym. There’s literally no stair climbing required to get there! (Although if you’ll only go to the gym because you don’t have to walk far to get there, you might want to re-examine your views on exercise.)
Lower Cents is located near Rauch Courtyard, which is home to the Rauch Business center and Zoellner Arts center, which respectively hold business and performing arts classes. I had choir rehearsals three times a week last year; living that close to Zoellner made getting rehearsal from Beardslee convenient. (Shameless plug: if you sing, or even if you don’t, try out for choir on move-in day. I did that on a whim and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.)
The libraries are going to be a bit of a hike away from your dorm. Linderman Library, Lehigh’s oldest library (which houses humanities books), is located close to the front lawn. Fairchild-Martindale Library, a newer library with engineering and science books, is located near Campus Square (almost a ten minute walk). While you aren’t right next to the libraries, walking to either of them is manageable.
I cannot stress enough how lucky you guys are to have the courtyard. It’s one of the only places on campus I can think of that has enough flat, grassy ground to be usable for tossing a ball or frisbee around– you’d have to go outside of STEPS or all the way over the mountain to find anything like it. So when the weather is nice, take advantage of it! Don’t waste your good fortune.
That’s about as much as I can meaningfully impart to you off the top of my head. If you think I’ve missed something (very possible), or if you have any questions about Lower Cents (or anything about Lehigh), please don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.com. I’ll do my best to answer the question; if I don’t know it, I’ll refer you to somebody who does.
Again, you guys have chosen an excellent school, and you’re living in what I think is the best complex on campus! (No bias here.) Get ready for what’s sure to be a memorable and fantastic year.