New residence hall will bring more living space, remove portion of Kerr parking

New residence hall will bring more living space, remove portion of Kerr parking

November 16
15:35 2016

The first part of a two-phase residence hall and tour center project that will add 500 beds to the campus and remove nearly two-thirds of the parking south of Kerr Hall will begin in February 2017. The project is projected to be finished by June 2018. 

The new residence hall, which is being constructed at the corner of Eagle Drive and Avenue A, will be approximately five stories tall with an area of 122,000 square feet. 

The total budget for the first phase of the project, which includes the new tour center, is $49 million. The second phase, potentially beginning in spring 2017, will cost $44 million.

Daniel Armitage, associate vice president for Auxiliaries Services, said the reason for constructing the residence hall and tour center is to keep up with the growing population of students at UNT. 

“As the student population continues to grow, so does the demand for students who would like to return and stay living on campus,” Armitage said.

Many of the lessons learned in the planning and construction of the Rawlins residence hall two years ago greatly informed the work on the new residence hall, said James Maguire, vice chancellor for Facilities Planning and Construction. He said that the primary lesson learned was how to structure the building in a way to properly suit student experience.

“Following these principles, the new residence hall is designed to build a strong sense of community among the residents,” Maguire said.

The building will have several community spaces, including new music practice rooms and a large social kitchen that will allow groups to conduct various programs, Armitage said.

The building will utilize a pod-style living arrangement. The arrangement will consist of a clustered bathroom facility for a community of 20 beds, per pod, in a suite-like layout. There will be a handful of single rooms as well as smaller pod areas with eight to 10 beds.

“The majority of the building will be larger pod communities,” Armitage said.

The layout of the individual rooms will be similar to other residence halls on campus, such as double rooms having two closets, beds, desks and dressers, Armitage said. The bathrooms will be shared, but private spaces in the pod communities will allow UNT staff to clean them when necessary.

Armitage also said the open pod layout will allow for the development and growth of living-learning communities, allowing up to 20 students involved in similar academic programs to make friendships and develop a support group.

Project lead Andrew Herrell said that by providing this pod-style layout, it will give students a sense of both community and privacy.

“The primary driver behind designing a building for students is the notion of building community, while still addressing the privacy needs expected in today’s residential halls,” project lead Andrew Herrell said.

Adjacent to the residence hall, a 17,000 square foot, two story tour center will be constructed that will also function as the offices for housing and dining, Herrell said.

The building will function as a one-stop-shop of student services for prospective new students, serving as a launching point for tours and admission activities. The center will have a grand entry with a large lobby to greet potential students, along with a 170 seat presentation room.

While there are currently no plans to relocate the parking spaces that are being removed for the projects in February, additional transit services have been added to campus, Transportation Services Director Geary Robinson said. He said buses have been added primarily to lots 80 and 85, which are adjacent to Victory hall

“At UNT West, we have approximately 400-500 vacant spaces on a daily basis,” Robinson said. “Despite how far away it may seem, what we have seen with increased transit service, travel takes about 9-10 minutes.”

Robinson said that the changes the project is bringing may be difficult for some but will be beneficial for the university and its students in the long run.

“While we’re growing, there’s going to be a certain amount of discomfort,” Robinson said. “The good news for students and faculty is that the university is growing, and growing in a positive direction.”

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Evan Groom

Evan Groom

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