University of Arkansas planning new residence halls on south end of campus

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 67 views 

In response to a continued increase in enrollment, the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville has approved a major capital improvement project to build new residence halls on the south end of campus.

At its Nov. 10-11 meeting, the UA System Board of Trustees approved the UA to move forward with construction of two “semi-suite” residence halls each with 350 beds. Initial design and programming work has already started and construction will begin in the fourth quarter of 2017. The site is south of Pomfret Hall and east of Bud Walton Arena along a realigned Stadium Drive (under construction) at the intersection of Leroy Pond Drive.

The project cost is estimated between $75.5 million and $78.1 million and will be funded by University Housing cash reserves and/or bonds, as well as potential donor gifts, according to a letter to board members written by Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz.

The project is called Stadium Drive Residence Halls and is intended to house first- and second-year students, according to the UA. Each building is expected to be between 98,000 and 105,000 square feet and will include retail dining, multi-use meeting rooms, advising and administrative offices, laundry, kitchen, vending and communal areas.

Additionally, the dining hall in Pomfret Hall – the largest residence hall on campus with a capacity of 803 students – will be renovated and expanded to help serve the two new halls. The three halls together will “create a critical mass of student activity in an area that is currently perceived as remote from central campus,” according to the request for qualifications (RFQ) issued by the UA last August.

The UA System Board selected Nabholz Construction Corp. in Rogers as the general contractor and the design team of Modus Design Studio of Fayetteville, Leers Weinzapfel Associates of Boston and Mackey Mitchell Architects of St. Louis.

The UA has experienced rapid growth over the past decade and reported a fall 2016 enrollment of 27,194, up 96% from fall 2006 enrollment of 13,876. The campus has 18 residence halls for undergrads with a combined capacity of 5,726 students. Founders Hall, opened in 2013 with a capacity of 214 residents, is the newest residence hall on campus.

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