Incoming Wichita State University students will have a new residence hall to call home beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year.
University officials broke ground Tuesday on the new residence hall, which is expected to be completed by Aug. 6 of next year.
Unlike the current residence halls that border WSU, the new hall will be close to the center of campus at what is now the parking lot south of Cessna Stadium. The new facility will house up to 784 students.
“We haven’t had a new residence hall in about 50 years,” said Steve Larson, director of housing and residence life at the university. “This is going to change everything – it creates a different dynamic for how students live on campus.”
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Larson said each floor will include a kitchen, laundry room and lounge. A dining hall and coffee shop also will be a part of the new hall. Fairmount Towers, northwest of campus, will be reserved for upperclassmen. The other living facilities, such as the Wheatshocker Apartments, will no longer function as residence halls, Larson said. It is yet to be determined what will happen to those buildings.
Mary Herrin, the university’s vice president for administration and finance, said the project will cost $65 million and will be financed by a bond sale through the Wichita State University Union Corporation. The bond will be paid for through student housing revenue, she said. The funds for the project are separate from the state budget cuts the Legislature passed earlier this year.
The hall’s proximity to the Rhatigan Student Center and athletic facilities is important in incorporating new students into campus life, said Andy Tompkins, president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents.
“Having this place in the middle of campus can’t do anything but dramatically improve student life on campus,” Tompkins said.