Shepherd proposes new residence hall costing approximately $20 million
Shepherd University unveiled its proposed plan to build a five-story residence hall by Aug. 1, 2017 on the west side of its campus, during a public meeting Monday evening.
The project will total over 81,000 square feet and has a preliminary budget estimate of at least 20 million, according to James Vigil, vice president for administration for Shepherd University.
The project consists of a public-private partnership model that creates a three-way partnership between Shepherd University, the Shepherd University Foundation and Real Estate Development and Construction out of Memphis, Tennessee.
The financing of the project is coming from the United States Department of Agriculture. Vigil said the project is a part of the USDA rural development authority, where rural communities of 20,000 or less are provided with a loan in order to build and expand their communities for its needs.
Jeffrey Resetco, Real Estate Development and Construction vice president, said his company has worked on several housing facilities before and that its sole purpose will to make sure the construction of the project is completed on time.
Vigil said he has been working on the plan since the fall. Vigil said the university worked with Brailsford & Dunlavey of Washington, D.C., to conduct a study on its campus’s needs.
According to Vigil, the study found that the university’s current housing assets are dated, the perceived value of on-campus housing is driving students off-campus and the types of units it offers does not accommodate the maturing student.
Vigil said the university’s goal is to have 40 percent of its students live on campus.
In the presentation, Vigil stated Shepherd found a current need for 290 beds. Eighty-four of those beds will be new to the project, 119 will come from Turner Hall and 87 will come from other residence halls where student population can be reduced.
Vigil said the demand will be supported by having a strong residence hall culture, an enrollment management recruitment plan and a large focus on retention.
The building’s current plan consists of 48 single rooms-two people with two bathrooms, 112 double rooms-four people with two bathrooms and 9 resident assistant and residence director rooms.
Vigil said Shepherd found it has a large need to accommodate students who want a more private living arrangement, which is why more single occupancy rooms were included in the project.
The living square footage totals 50,027, the building’s community space totals 6,020 square feet, dining square footage consists of 1,650 square feet and 23,613 square feet is made up of non-assignable space.
Vigil said the building will have higher amenities with modern aesthetics, which he believes will appeal to the Shepherd student.
Currently, Shepherd only has one dining hall on its west campus, which Vigil said is being completely overcrowded. The new plan calls for a large first floor dining hall that will have indoor and outdoor dining.
The plan also includes a large outdoor recreational area, a convenience store feature as well as a full kitchen for residents to use when they want to cook something.
Vigil also said Shepherd felt it was necessary to include multiple study and lounge areas on every floor. There will also be a classroom located in the building that can be used for academic purposes such as first year classes, seminars, speakers, etc.
An exact number for rent costs has not yet been chosen, but Vigil said it will be between $3,100 and $4,600 per semester, which is the current cost of the university’s West Wood Complex and the Dunlop and Printz Apartments.
Vigil said Shepherd found that only 70 percent of residence halls on its east campus are filled-which are more low cost and less amenities-compared to the university’s west campus which has 88 to 89 percent occupancy filled-where the rent is more expensive and the amenities are nicer.
“We have students who pay attention to cost, but it’s clear they are sensitive to amenities as well,” Vigil said.
Shepherd plans to have its board review and approved the plan in May and hopes to break ground on the project sometime between June and August of this year.