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NEW HOUSING PLANNED - The first
phase of Southeastern Louisiana University's new student housing plan will
be a four-story structure to be built near the university's main entrance
off University Avenue. The university has contracted with Capstone Development
Corp. of Birmingham, Ala., to handle the project of replacing Southeastern's
older residential facilities.
SOUTHEASTERN TO INITIATE PHASED-IN
CAMPUS HOUSING PROJECTS
HAMMOND -- Southeastern
Louisiana University is moving forward with an ambitious $55 million plan
to replace all of its older housing with new student-focused residential
facilities, President Randy Moffett announced today (Jan. 28).
Southeastern selected Capstone
Development Corporation of Birmingham, Ala., to handle the financing, renovation,
demolition and construction projects. The plan received approval recently
from the Louisiana Board of Regents, the state higher education coordinating
body. This follows previous approval by the University of Louisiana System
Board of Supervisors, Southeastern's governing board.
Capstone's financial team will
propose its finance plan to the State Bond Commission in the near future.
Once approved, sale of the bonds to finance the project would take place
in the spring, according to the university's projected timeline.
Moffett said Southeastern's campus
has benefited over the last several years from more than $80 million in
new construction and renovations, which includes new classroom and lab
"Over the last several years,
the university has modernized and upgraded its academic facilities for
our more than 15,000 students," Moffett added. "It is important to the
future of Southeastern that we now turn our focus to meeting students'
expectations in our residential environment."
Vice President for Student Affairs
Brad O'Hara said the new residences will provide a technology-rich environment
as well as more space, privacy, and security than the older "dorm-style"
complexes. "We went through a very thorough assessment of our older
buildings and came to the conclusion that replacement with new facilities
is a more economical approach than renovation," he said.
The exception is Cardinal Newman
Hall, a 96-bed facility that serves as the university's primary residential
building for honors students. Cardinal Newman is the only residential facility
on the south campus that will be renovated. All others are slated to be
demolished over the next several years.
Plans call for initial construction
to start later this year. O'Hara indicated that approximately 700 new beds
will be built in facilities near Southeastern's main entrance on University
Avenue and north of the Sims Memorial Library. Occupancy is anticipated
for spring 2005. Additional phased-in construction projects will follow
according to anticipated housing needs.
O'Hara said preparation for the
project started over the semester break with the demolition of Tucker Hall,
a dormitory built in 1961. Other buildings will be demolished according
to a phased-in construction program for the new facilities with total removal
of older facilities expected by fall 2006.
"Phasing the demolition and construction
is critical," O'Hara explained. "In addition to our own students, we also
have to take into consideration housing commitments we have made to many
academic camps over the summer and other events which take place on the
Southeastern campus, such as the Manning Passing Academy and Louisiana
Currently, Southeastern's residences
can accommodate approximately 2,300 students, 600 located in two newer
facilities on the university's north campus. Southeastern Oaks, an apartment-style
facility with 312 beds, opened in 1999; the Village, a residential facility
for university-based organizations, including sororities and fraternities,
houses approximately 270 students and was built in 2000. Both projects
were developed by Capstone.
"The buildings are designed to
fit in with the university's master plan, incorporating lots of green space
and common areas to help develop a sense of community among the students,"
O'Hara said. He explained that student focus groups confirmed Capstone's
plan of renovation and that the new construction is appealing, meets student
needs and will do much to enhance campus and student life.
"The proposed facilities are
exactly what students today are looking for," said Southeastern senior
Jodi Keating, a family and consumer sciences major from Covington who served
on the committee that evaluated the competing proposals. "Because it's
so easy to get to classes, living on campus is very attractive if the facilities
are modern, provide privacy, and have amenities such as Internet access
and cable television," added Keating, who has lived on campus throughout
her college career.