Construction on university residence hall on schedule

THE FOUR-STORY RESIDENCE HALL under construction on the Dakota State University campus is on schedule. On Friday afternoon, before the weekend snowstorm blew through, workers were observed on the roof and on equipment outside the new structure.

New construction on the Dakota State University campus is going well, according to Corey Braskamp, director of facilities management.

"Construction is going well," he said via DSU Strategic Communication Coordinator Jane Utecht. "The building should be completely enclosed from weather within the next couple weeks. Wall framing and internal work are already under way."

Residence Village, a four-story, 40,000-square-foot structure, was designed with suite-style and apartment-style units, according to information available on the DSU website. The facility plan was approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents in April 2019 and construction began earlier this year.

"This facility will help to meet our strong enrollment growth as well as provide the features and amenities that students desire," Jim Jacobsen, vice president for Student Affairs said in a press release at the time.

Earlier this year, when the Regents announced that fall enrollment was down at the state's public universities, DSU administrators noted that residence halls on campus were 97% occupancy and expressed confidence that enrollment will increase next year. They cited construction of Residence Village as their reason for this confidence.

President Jose-Marie Griffiths noted that DSU has seen significant jumps in enrollment each time a new building has been opened on campus. That occurred in 2017 when The Courtyard residence hall was opened and again in 2019 when the Madison Cyber Labs opened.

In describing the new residence hall on the university's website, she said, "This new residence hall will not only house our students, its new design style will enhance their living and learning experiences."

Braskamp has indicated there have been no major issues since construction began.

"Contractors ordered all materials right away just in case there would be production issues, so we haven't seen any COVID-related delays," he indicated.

This is not true of other projects in Madison which have gotten behind schedule this year, primarily due to the challenge of getting materials to proceed with construction.

Residence Village is scheduled for occupancy in 2021. Built adjacent to The Courtyard, it will feature community study areas, lounges and laundry facilities. With four-bedroom suites and six-bedroom apartments, it will provide housing for 122 students.

Braskamp is pleased with the way the construction company has worked with DSU during construction to ensure both safety and continuity of campus operations.

"Our construction manager, Journey Construction, does a great job at working with DSU and planning for continuance of student travel around the site, logistics of material deliveries on an active campus and overall safety of the contractors and DSU employees and students," he said.

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