Construction of the new residence hall seems to be going according to plan, with completion expected prior to fall semester.
According to John Dew, senior vice chancellor of student services and administration, a name has not yet been selected for the building by the board of trustees. It is internally being referred to as “New Hall” for the moment.
While exact details of the progress are not currently available, Sara Jo Burks, director of housing and residence life, was able to give some information regarding the new amenities and pricing.
“We were told that everything is on schedule to open for the fall,” Burks said. “Generally the target date is July 1 so that you have a month before the dorms actually open.”
There will be 358 single rooms, 30 double rooms, and 12 handicap-accessible rooms in the new building.
Dew said that number of single rooms is significantly higher in “New Hall” compared to other residence halls due to students being accustomed to having private rooms at their homes and their demand for the same in college. “We think we are responding to what the students said they would like to see,” he said.
Each room will come furnished with its own bathroom and closet, in-room air conditioning and windows that will be sealed shut.
There also will be an improved lounge area for students and, due to the size of the building, a storm shelter — something that was not a requirement during the building of the Newman Center.
“In the safe space on one of the wings, we are expecting to install some 3-D technology where we could schedule to show 3-D videos and also be able to have 3-D gaming,” Dew said.
“I think there is going to be an increased effort to provide technologies to students in rooms to support the many different devices that they bring with them,” he said.
Found in each room will be a wall-mounted 42-inch television along with a bed, desk and chair, all amounting to a higher cost of living.
“The prices are $3,000 for the single and $2,600 for the double,” Burks said. “It would be the most expensive housing that we have, but prices are based on the cost to build the building, and with it being the newest thing, it’s going to be more expensive.”
Although the building will be costlier than other residence halls on campus, the administration is hopeful that students will opt to live in the new hall.
“We are optimistic that we will have all the rooms filled in August of 2015,” Dew said. “We would not be building this many if we thought that was going to be the problem.”
According to Dew, the projection of increasing student enrollment and transfer-ins makes the building a viable investment.
“You have to build for the future. We expect it to be in high demand,” he said.
The administration also estimates that there will be sufficient parking spaces for the residents when including the parking lot across the street. “It may mean that we have to make some changes eventually with commuter parking, but we think that there will be adequate parking at the moment,” Dew said.
“We are delighted to be able to bring this new building to the campus. It’s going to be a beautiful building, and we are proud to have it on the campus.”
As the building nears completion, excitement is beginning to mount among some students, especially those who are familiar with its predecessor.
“I think that this is way overdue,” said Skylar Smith, a senior exercise science major from Ashford. “The old building needed an upgrade badly, and it sounds like the new one will be one I’d actually consider living in.”
Incoming freshmen and new housing applicants can start applying for residency in the new building, as re-contracting for current residents has not begun.
The website with information regarding the building is currently being redone, but the housing department can still be contacted for any questions or assistance.