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More housing options to be added to campus

By Jonathan Rhodes
On July 10, 2017

New housing options are coming to the university and the construction for the new buildings is underway.  These new facilities will be placed where Twelve Oaks used to be. Jonathan Rhodes/The Lion’s Roar

The university has started construction for two new housing options that is expected to be finished by fall of 2018. The decision to build more housing options was made due to the size of the waitlist for housing each fall semester.

A market research firm was asked by the university to find out what the housing needs are and how to meet student demands.

“Based on the outcome of that study, it was determined that there was a gap in room inventory versus demand,” said Executive Director of Public and Governmental Affairs Erin Cowser. “In addition, an older facility, Zachary Taylor Hall, has remained online but does not provide students with the experience or amenities they have come to expect and has become very costly to operate due to the age of the facility and maintenance needs.”

The new housing options will not be similar to the dorms already on campus but will be up to date, giving students better access to the technology that will make living on campus a much easier option without having to worry about out-of-date dorm rooms.

“It is our hope that this project will assist in providing all students living on campus with modern, tech-friendly living spaces,” said Vice President for Administration and Finance Sam Domiano.

Due to heavy cuts to higher education from the state government, the funds necessary to pay for this project are coming out of pocket for the university through self generated funds not state money.

“The approximate $36 million undertaking is being funded as a third party financing project through University Facilities, Inc., an affiliate organization of the university,” said Cowser. “Bonds are sold to secure funds with rental fees and other housing and auxiliary revenues used to secure the debt.”

Because of the construction to build these two new housing facilities, the available parking spaces on campus will reduce for the time being. More parking will be added along with the facilities once they are finished.

“The gravel lot along Texas Avenue will be temporarily unavailable during construction,” said Cowser. “The full construction project includes re-configuration and paving of the parking lot located on Railroad Avenue. Students are encouraged to utilize the ample parking available daily in the parking garage at Strawberry Stadium.”

The housing facilities will include a hybrid geothermal system for heating and cooling and will have quiet study rooms and multipurpose spaces for classes and social events. The north side of the building will have a retail food venue. Wireless cards will be used to get in and out of the facilities instead of keys. Adjacent plaza areas and walkways will also be constructed with the facilities.

Zachary Taylor Hall will be removed from campus once the construction of the new facilities is finished.

“The four-story buildings will feature 556 beds available in a mix of shared double and private double semi-suites,” said Cowser. “Zachary Taylor Hall, which depending on double occupancy, houses between 250 to 260 students, will remain in use until the completion of construction of the two new residence halls.” 

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