Published in the March 8, 2017 issue of The Bells
According to a press release published on Feb. 16, UMHB officially announced the approval by the Board of Trustees to build a new residence hall by the fall 2018 semester.
The new building will reside on the north side of campus, between Hardy Hall and Crusader Way. The plans also includes a new green space between Hardy, the new building, and Burt Hall, effectively extending the Quad. The building will be three stories tall and be approximately 46,000 square feet.
The building itself will contain rooms for up to 214 students. In a similar fashion to Beall, the building will be constructed so that floors and wings can be closed to one gender, allowing for men and women to reside there at the same time.
It also allows for more versatility, so that they can change the ratio of male and female rooms as demanded by the numbers of each in the incoming freshmen classes.
“I feel it will be good for the university to provide more of a variety of housing for freshman,” said freshman English major and SGA freshman class chaplain, Lindsey Conklin. “Overall, this new residence building will impact the UMHB community in very positive ways by giving the freshmen classes more housing options and a great new place to live as they start the next chapter of their adult lives.”
In an email from university president, Dr. Randy O’ Rear on Feb. 13, he said that the new building will allow “major renovation” of Stribling Hall after the Spring 2018 semester.
Neither the email nor the release mention the nature of the renovations.
In other news discussing construction on campus, construction on the performing arts center is in the final stages of construction.The final project from the 2011 Campus Master Plan is expected to be completed and usable before the fall semester.
O’ Rear’s email also mentions that fundraising is being done to put the the new projects in motion.The school has managed to collect three fifths of its side of a 5 million grant. The deadline for the grant is Aug. 31, 2017, and will allow the Performing Arts Center to be fully funded upon its opening.
“I think the addition of the performing arts center is very exciting because it will accommodate for the growing music program here at UMHB,” said freshman psychology major, and saxophone player for the University’s Wind Ensemble Rachel Clemons. “It will be great for recruiting music majors and for encouraging non-music majors to be a part of the music program as well.”
Another project approved in the February meeting, according to O’ Rear’s email, is the addition to Hardy Hall for use by a new occupational therapy program. There are only seven universities across the state of Texas offer who this degree, and none in Central Texas. The degree is similar to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program that UMHB already offers, so the addition will be a joint space for both. The projected starting point for construction is in the spring/early summer of 2018, with a goal of having the first class of students starting in the fall of 2019.