Construction for Tom Ellett’s new Commons apartment to be completed by late August

Eric Kerr

Hannah Mirsky and Eric Kerr

Chief Experience Officer Tom Ellett will further immerse himself into Quinnipiac University’s campus life by moving into a newly built apartment in the Commons residence hall this fall.

The plans for the apartment began in the spring, while the construction started in May. Vice President for Facilities and Capital Planning Salvatore Fildardi says Ellett’s move-in is the start of a long-term plan.

“We’re taking an area of the building and converting it into an apartment,” said Filardi. “It’s for part of the strategic initiative to have faculty and staff live in the residence halls and this first apartment is probably slated for Tom Ellett.”

Four to five quads in Commons will be removed in place of Ellett’s apartment, but residential life says it will not affect first-year students since all room assignments were released before Aug. 1 and no students were assigned to those rooms.

“We were able to work easily with the framework of the housing that we have available,” said Quinnipiac’s Residential Life Director Mark Devilbiss. “We have plenty of housing for all of the incoming first-year students, ….we were prepared.”

Additionally, officials in Quinnipiac’s office of residential life are in full support of Ellett’s decision, in fact even welcoming him.

“We’re looking forward to hosting him on campus,” Devilbiss said. “And giving him the opportunity to see the student experience from a very up close and personal lens.”

Devilbiss even recommended where Ellett should choose to stay on campus.

“I had recommended the Commons because I know what a great community they have over there,” Devilbiss said. “It’s a very well located building, it’s a first year building with first-year students in it and we wanted to be able to provide an opportunity for Dr. Ellett to see a typical or traditional QU housing experience for first-year students.”

Ellett set a new initiative to provide students with another connection point and adult presence to provide programming and engagement by implementing faculty and staff apartments into the residence halls.

After living in residence halls with family at four previous universities, Ellett feels he can be an additional adult presence, not in charge of conduct, and take on a more positive role amongst incoming first-year students.

“It has been really helpful for me to learn lots about the culture of the institution,” Ellett said. “Participate more broadly in traditions on college campuses, and to have incidental run-ins or engagements with students.”

In addition to Ellett’s apartment, a new lounge is also being constructed.

“There is a new lounge right outside of the apartment so programs can happen and be an extension of the apartment for larger gatherings,” Filardi said.

Even though Ellett will be living on campus full time, he wants to make sure to maintain certain boundaries between students.

“I would say that I think there will be a blurring of boundaries, but there are certain boundaries that I won’t cross as it relates to student culture,” Ellett said.

Though construction for only one apartment is underway, Ellett says he was a part of a recent project to secure more living spaces for faculty who may live in residence halls in the future.

“We are looking to have faculty living in the residence halls,” Ellett said. “We just finished a project of scoping the future residence hall, and including faculty apartments in there.”

While the pandemic pushed back the timing on the construction of the Recreation and Wellness center, Ellett’s apartment will be complete this year by late August.

“A lot of our construction this summer has a lot of challenges to it, because of the pandemic and supply chain issues and things like that, so the rec(creation) center is not scheduled to be completed for another year, but this project is scheduled to be completed this summer,” Filardi said.