Residence halls to be renovated, replaced as part of 10-year plan

By: 

News Reporter
Sterry Residence Hall is scheduled for demoliton as part of the Campus Master Plan to construct a new music building.

A 10-year plan is in place to renovate existing residence halls or possibly replace them with a different style.

The Department of Housing and Residential Life hired a consultant to study the university’s growth patterns and projections. The consultant looked at the conditions of the halls, said Bill Nance, vice president of Finance and Support Services.

Blanco and Retama Halls are in the planning stages of renovation, said Rosanne Proite, director of Housing and Residential Life. The plan started in 2010 and includes the renovation of Beretta, Brogdon and Laurel Halls. Hornsby, Burleson, Arnold and Smith Halls are a “big center” for new residential opportunities, Proite said. There is a plan to knock down Sterry Hall and build a new non-residential building, Nance said.

Timing is important when it comes to renovating and building new dorms, Proite said.

“You want to have as much housing as you possibly can to ensure you’re going to be able to house all the freshmen, and you don’t want to overbuild,” Proite said. “Now our plan is to open something every two years, and that keeps up steady in how much housing we have to offer.”

High-quality residence halls like Falls and Sayers are more expensive than others, according to the university’s Department of Housing and Residential Life website. Price is increasingly becoming a concerning factor with all of the renovations being done on residence halls, said Malinda Brock, athletic training freshman and resident of Burleson Hall.  

“The president and the president’s cabinet have been insisting on lower prices,” Nance said. “There has to be a range of price points that include some lower price options that the students need.”

The Department of Housing and Residential Life doesn’t receive any money from the state of Texas or the university, Proite said. The only money the department receives is from the students who live on campus, and it goes to lighting, electricity, water, trash and salaries. A loan has to be taken out to do the rebuilding and renovations.

“We have some very big decisions to make because the cost of construction has increased and because we have to take out loans,” Proite said. “One of our most important factors that we think about is cost.”

Every year, about 100 students don’t show up to their rooms, Proite said. Residential life decided to accept 100 more applications this year and keep the extra students in temporary housing until they can find room for them.

“I think right now they don’t even have enough space,” Brock said. “There are people living in study rooms at Chautauqua and Gaillardia right now, but there’s 15 open dorms at Hornsby and Burleson.”

Residential life plans to add 600 more beds in the new dorms that will be built on the Speck parking lot site, Proite said.