Moving forward: new residence halls ahead of schedule


Brad Stout/Editor-in-Chief

Construction on the new residence hall complex is now expected to be completed two months ahead of schedule

In the spring, construction of the new residence hall complex was just taking shape. While students left campus for home, vacation or work, construction crews were busy making progress on the new halls that now have an estimated completion date of May rather than July.

The project hasn’t been without struggles, according to Physical Plant director Bob Harrington. When bids for the project initially started to come in, they were about $2.7 million over the approved budget. This didn’t dampen Harrington’s spirits, however.

“We actually had the project within budget in just two weeks,” he said.

While it didn’t take the physical plant long to make the necessary cuts, some big changes were made. Originally, four of the six buildings were meant to be on a higher level than the other two, but keeping them at ground level saved a significant amount. A change in the exterior also helped reduce costs.

Harrington said, “When we did the redesign for the value engineering to get it within budget, we went to paneled systems on the outside, so all of the exterior and interior walls are coming put together — they are already panelized at the factory and just have to be assembled on site.”

The panels are a major reason the project has moved along as well as it has, he said.

According to Harrington, two of the buildings could be finished right around Christmas, with two other buildings ready shortly after. The final two buildings are on schedule to be finished near the beginning of May.

Director of Residence Life Joshua Doak is excited about what the addition will bring to the campus.

“In my opinion, if we offer students a quality living environment, it’s more attractive to come and stay on campus,” he said. “The new complex currently in construction will be a significant enhancement to meeting the needs and expectations of college students.”

The current residence halls have been full this year, amplifying the need and excitement surrounding the new buildings.

“Our residence halls are currently more full than they have ever been, and people credit that to the fact that, one, new furniture was added, and, two, my understanding is that to get the first chance of moving into the new buildings, you have to be a current resident hall student,” said Harrington.

Doak believes the increase in on-campus students can be attributed to the additions made over the summer to the current buildings and the recruitment of international and out-of-state students.

Other than initially being over budget, the project has sailed rather smoothly, Harrington said.

“We are ahead of schedule at this point; we were able to get it within budget and it’s going very well,” he said.