Design intended to lure upperclassmen should help fulfill freshmen requirement
When Oregon State University officials originally started drawing up plans for the campus’ newest dormitory, the idea was to create a building that would attract a community of upperclassmen.
But those plans for the new dormitory, scheduled to open in fall 2014, evolved as OSU moved ahead with its goal of having true freshmen live on campus beginning next academic year.
So now, the new student residence — which has yet to be named — will accommodate 300 students, and the emphasis will be on freshmen, said Dan Larson, associate director of operations and facilities at University Housing and Dining Services. He estimated that 70 percent of the residents in the new hall will be first-year students and 30 percent will be returning students, whom he said will be attracted to the building’s three-bedroom suites with shared bathrooms.
“The type of facility will be very attractive to first-year students, and it will be consistent with a type of facility that returning students have shown interest in,” Larson said. “It is a pretty ideal demographic. You have some of the older students who are helping the first-year students, and then we’ll be meeting the greatest needs, which is first-year students given the live-on requirement.”
The 85,000 square-foot residence hall will be located on the east side of campus, on 13th Street and Washington Avenue near three other residence halls and McNary Dining Center.
The cost of the five-story building is $29 million — considerably less than OSU’s newest residence hall, the $52 million International Living-Learning Center residence building. The cost of the Learning Center was higher in part because that building also includes a variety of classrooms.
Students will pay $11,446 for a single room and $9,325 for a double room per year, including a meal plan, in the new residence.
“In terms of total capacity, it would be very consistent with the triplex near where it’s being built: Callahan, Wilson and McNary,” Larson said.
The new residence building’s design meets OSU energy-efficiency standards and should qualify for at least a silver rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designs, the third-highest LEED standard. Larson said the building might qualify for a gold designation. For instance, windows will be equipped with sensors that shut off the heat when the window is open — one of several built-in energy-saving features.
Larson also said the building will meet all current codes regarding accessibility.
A gravel parking lot with 196 spaces is located on the building site, near the Child Care Center.
The lot, which takes up about half a street block, will be lost when the building goes up. Hank Kemper from OSU’s Transit and Parking Services said the Campus Master Plan requires that all parking spaces that are displaced during a construction project be replaced. OSU officials, however, are unsure where the replacement spaces will be located.
Larson said the project will pay for displaced parking. OSU Facility Services architect Lori Fulton said the replacement parking spaces ideally will be available by the time the residence hall opens. The Campus Planning Department is working to find new parking spots on campus.
As for next fall, university officials are not concerned about capacity, even though the new dorm will still be a year away from opening.
OSU had a 5.1 percent enrollment increase in fall 2011 from fall 2010. However, the number of newly admitted freshmen actually fell from fall 2010 to fall 2011. Last year, even though OSU had space to house 4,318 students on campus in its 14 residence halls and three cooperative houses, about 750 beds were empty.
On-campus capacity this fall is expected to be roughly the same as last year, with about 4,300 beds. The new student residence will add 300 beds to that total in 2014 when it opens.
“The availability of housing on campus will be sufficient to accommodate requiring all true freshmen with appropriate exceptions to live on campus beginning in autumn 2013,” OSU President Ed Ray wrote in an email to the Gazette-Times. “The new residence hall will accommodate additional students living on campus and is not essential to house freshmen.”
Joce DeWitt can be contacted at 758-9510 or firstname.lastname@example.org