Last semester, the master plan to expand campus was proposed, and it didn’t take long for the first building project to begin.
Construction is officially underway for the new apartments on University Drive — the first of campus housing located on the west side of the street.
“We have started moving dirt to prepare,” Vice President of Student Life Dr. Bryon Weathersbee said. “You may have seen the white houses being moved across from the band practice parking lot .… that’s where they will go.”
The new building is estimated to cost $7 million and will sit on 3.7 acres overlooking Nolan Creek.
“If you have ever been to the president’s home and stood on his back porch, it will almost be the same view … just not with the same home cooking our first lady provides,” he said.
Campus housing has been completely filled up (including the 141 beds in Garner Hall added in fall 2010). As the number of students increases each year, the need for new housing grows. Because of the new addition, 166 more students can live on campus.
“Although this seems removed from campus, it is actually closer to Walton Chapel than Garner Hall is to Walton,” Weathersbee said.
A variety of floor plans is available. The four-story 68,500 square foot complex will hold 59 apartment units. All will have a private room/private bath and share a common living area.
Thirty-one units are for two people: two bedrooms and two baths available, eight units for three people: three bedrooms and three baths and 20 units are four bedrooms and four baths for four people.
Each apartment will have a washer and dryer, microwave, refrigerator, garbage disposal, along with wi-fi, cable and data ports in each of the bedrooms and living areas.
Junior theology/philosophy and history major Tyler Potts is apprehensive of UMHB’s new addition.
“I think having individual (private) bathrooms in every room is a massive inconvenience,” he said. “It takes up bed space that could be used to house more students who are usually forced out of campus housing.”
Potts, however, is ready to see the campus atmosphere improve.
“A lot of students are really excited about having their own bathroom,” he said.
Freshman graphic design major Jacob Brenton is one of those.
He thinks the private bathroom “would be nice for the women folk.”
The ability to socialize, then retreat to a single room is appealing to him.
“I think the possibility of living in an environment with a lot of your friends, but still having your private space is a really nice balance,” he said.
This is the first step to kicking the master plan in full gear. New additions to campus will be popping up over the next five years.
Weathersbee said, “The apartments should be ready for move-in next fall.”