North Texas Daily

New honors hall reflects a desire for tier-one recognition

New honors hall reflects a desire for tier-one recognition

New honors hall reflects a desire for tier-one recognition
September 21
23:29 2015

Alejandro Medellin | Staff Writer


As the university seeks to be recognized as a more prominent institution, recruitment has become fixated on attracting high-level students like those at the Honors College.

Its construction patterns reflect that effort as the newest dormitory, Rawlins Hall, is reserved for honors students. Other dorms have undergone less expensive renovation projects.

UNT invested $37 million in Rawlins, newly built and located across from the Gateway Center. That project costs more than four other priority renovation projects, which will cost the university a total of about $14 million.

Rawlins Hall is the second residence hall for honors students to be built in recent years, just as the university began to roll out its intentions to become a tier-one research university.

“I think we were already trying to do that,” said Helen Bailey, the director of facilities management and construction. “This is part of UNT’s goal to attract the best students to UNT.”

If the university continues to see growth, students can expect to see more constructions crews and closed-off areas. And that includes more renovation projects to existing dorm halls.

“We are really excited at the moment to be given the opportunity to really start digging into the best ways to improve and refresh our existing residence halls,” Bailey said. “Some of them are starting to look a little dated, and some of them have a lot of historic value to them.”

There are four residence halls that were either renovated recently, or will be up for improvements soon. They include Kerr Hall, West Hall, Maple Hall and Bruce Hall.

“Really, Bruce Hall started that whole thing with the new addition to the dining hall that went on,” Bailey said. “Because it’s an iconic favorite and the oldest residence hall.”

Bruce, which opened in 1948, was not built to cultivate a community atmosphere, which Bailey said is an important aspect of a residence life.

“[We’re building] more spaces for community inside the dorm so that you’re not feeling like you have to walk to the union to socialize with your friends,” Bailey said.

Apart from the addition to the dining hall at Bruce, this summer it was closed for renovations on the third floor that cost $1.2 million. The renovations ranged from cabinetry to water fountains. First and second floor renovations for Bruce Hall are estimated at $1.7 million.

Kerr Hall, the tallest building on campus, had many of it’s A-tower doors replaced this summer. Some door replacements are expected to finish during the Winter break. The doors have cost the university $325,000, and the A-tower elevator another $350,000. A plan to renovate the Kerr Hall kitchen is estimated at $7.4 million, and is scheduled to begin construction in 2017.

West Hall will be finished with its lobby and common area renovations later this semester. The changes include a game room and a new exterior look that has so far cost UNT $1.8 million.

The university anticipates it will work on the Maple Hall common area, the project likely costing UNT $1.65 million.

“We value the other resident halls on campus and we’re trying to do all we can to bring them up to today’s standards and make them more appealing,” Bailey said.

Featured Image: Courtesy | UNT

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