August 23, 2019

DSU moves forward on plans for new residence hall - Daily Leader Extra : Top Stories

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DSU moves forward on plans for new residence hall

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Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 2:24 pm

A tight housing market in Madison combined with increasing enrollment has prompted the administration at Dakota State University to move forward with plans to build a new 128-bed residence hall.

In April, the university announced the Board of Regents had approved the initial facility program plan for Residence Village. Last week, the Board of Regents approved the facility design plan, according to Jim Jacobsen, interim vice president for Student Affairs.

"Our goal would be to let this out for bids as early as January 2020," he said.

At a time when other universities around the state have seen declining enrollment, DSU has seen growth. In 2017, the university reported the numbers were up in numerous categories -- overall headcount, freshmen and transfer students, online and on-campus students and credit hours taken.

In 2018, the university reported it has seen growth in 18 out of the past 20 years. Overall student growth was reported at 2.27 percent with a 9 percent growth in the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences and a 13 percent increase in graduate student enrollment.

"Last year, one of our significant milestones was breaking the 400 mark with new freshmen; we had 405 last year," Jacobsen said.

He indicated enrollment is looking strong for this fall as well. Until students move in and classes start, the college will not know the actual enrollment or how it compares to previous years.

The new dorm will be located at the corner of Northeast Eighth Street and Washington Avenue, one block south of the originally proposed site. It is being designed for upperclassmen, students who might otherwise consider living off campus.

"That facility will provide some of the amenities that students are looking for," Jacobsen said, indicating Residence Village will offer four- and six-bedroom suites.

In recent years, universities have moved away from the two-bed dorm rooms that were common in previous years and toward facilities that better meet the needs of students today, he explained.

As the campus committee working on this project met with the architect, the concept changed although the number of beds did not. Jacobsen said they looked at various locations, each of which had benefits and challenges. The current design involves an L-shaped building which fits on the lot south of Courtyard Hall.

"It's closer to the heartbeat of campus," Jacobsen explained.

Students will be closer to the Market Place, where they dine; to the Trojan Zone, where they purchase their textbooks; and to their classrooms. In addition, it will give students easier access to support services.

"Within the Courtyard, we have our Student Success Center," Jacobsen said. "We offer tutoring services and have our professional advisers."

In speaking with the Board of Regents' building committee in late July, Stacy Krusemark, vice president for business and administrative services, indicated cost savings with this arrangement as well. If Residence Village were added to Courtyard Hall, the university would not need to hire another residence hall director and fewer residence hall advisers would be needed, he indicated.

A final consideration was student parking. The plan initially proposed to the Board of Regents involved building at the corner of Washington Avenue and Northeast Ninth Street, where a parking lot currently exists. With the new plan, the university will not need to replace that lost parking, according to Jacobsen.

Residence Village was introduced as a three-story, 40,000-square foot structure with suite-style and apartment-style units that would also include community study areas, lounges, laundry facilities, administrative offices and a residence director apartment. The cost was projected at $7.6 million with an additional $3.1 million in soft costs.

With the design change, the facility will be a four-story residence hall. Construction costs are expected to be $8.7 million, with an overall cost for the project of $11.5 million.

Construction funding will come from revenue bonds. Krusemark reported to the building committee that he is budgeting for a 3.5 percent interest rate even though he has been advised by a consultant that current rates are down to 3.27 percent.

Although weather will undoubtedly affect construction, the goal is to have students take up residence there in Fall 2021.

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