Heavy Demand Spurs Approval of 2nd Residence Hall

In a nod to the overwhelming popularity of UT Dallas’ first on-campus residence hall, the University of Texas System Board of Regents has approved plans for a second freshman living-learning center. Site work is set to begin in July.

Residence hall map

Phase 2 will add a new building just north of the existing residence hall.

The 400-bed, 150,000-square-foot facility is planned for occupancy by fall 2011.  It will be built on University-owned property on Rutford Avenue, adjacent to the existing hall, which opened in fall 2009.

Darrelene Rachavong, vice president for Student Affairs at UT Dallas noted that adding the hall is a dedicated step toward expanding the University.

“The new residence hall will directly support our Strategic Plan imperative of adding 5,000 full-time equivalent students by 2017, with the goal of eventually expanding total student enrollment to 21,000.  Reaching that objective will call for, among other things, housing for an ever-increasing freshman population,” Rachavong said.

As with the previous building, the new facility will offer living-learning environments, which group together students with similar interests and majors.  It will include communal space, and each floor will feature two large, open-air study rooms.  Its design complements the apartment housing option already available at the University.

Matt Grief, who as assistant vice president for Student Affairs will assist with construction oversight on the new building,  said current student housing is operating close to 100 percent occupancy.

“The list of students who want to live in the residence hall outnumbers the beds we have available, so we’re excited to launch construction on our second hall,” Grief said.  “Interest in living on campus grows each year, and ideally we’d like to be able to house all freshmen who choose to live on campus.  The community atmosphere among residents also heavily influenced our decision to build the second residence hall sooner and on a faster timetable.”  

As with the original hall, the new four-story building’s entry will be an 1,800-square-foot, glass-enclosed rotunda complete with pool and ping pong tables, a large-screen television, couches and chairs.  Stairs will lead to a second-story multipurpose room.

The first floor includes a reception desk that will be operated 24 hours per day; a kitchen with a sink, stove and dishwasher; full-service laundry facilities; and a large vending area.  Also on the first floor will be a central mail room and a large classroom that can accommodate up to 30 students.

In addition, the first floor will house management offices and include two apartments for full-time professional staff.

“The new residence hall also will include a few added amenities,” Grief noted.  “We’ve increased the size of our classroom and multipurpose room, included two music practice rooms, and added more study space.” 

The building will be accessible by key card, as will living areas on each floor and individual suites.  Rooms will be a mix of three-bedroom, single-bath suites, and one-bedroom, one-bath units for peer advisers.

The furnished suites will feature a shared entry.  Living areas will have built-in counters in an alcove with phone, cable, data and convenience electrical outlets, and a location for students to place a small refrigerator.  There also will be a shared bathroom with a private shower, private toilet and a vanity with sinks.

Individual sleeping rooms are lockable.  Each sleeping room has an exterior window, bed, desk with chair, dresser and closet.  Each also will have phone, cable, data and convenience electrical outlets.

Seven of the units will be set aside and modified as necessary to accommodate people with disabilities, and the building will include elevator access. 

Six additional community areas throughout the facility will include televisions, couches and chairs.  The exterior center of the building will have a large courtyard, and outdoor recreation amenities will include two sports courts, one for basketball and one for volleyball. 

The building will have a 200-space parking lot.  First-year students living in the new residence hall will be required to have a University meal plan for use at the on-campus dining hall. 

The project’s cost is estimated at $31 million.  The design is being managed by engineering and architectural firm Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.  Construction will be led by Hill & Wilkinson.

The new residence hall will have the same styling as the building that opened to freshmen in September 2009.

The residence hall design features an expansive community area.

Each floor will also  have two open-air study rooms.

Most students will live in three-bedroom, single-bath suites.  Peer advisers will live in one-bedroom units.

The  building will have a large courtyard, and space for basketball and volleyball courts.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].