Work on new dorm kicks into high gear

By Kate Shepherd

Construction on the new south campus dormitory and dining hall is well underway and on schedule, according to Cheryl Gutman, deputy dean of students for Housing, Dining, and Transportation.

The original schedule calls for the first phase of the 900-bed dorm to be completed by August 2008 with the rest of the dorm opening by February 2009. However, Gutman said that because of the unusually warm weather this winter, the University is hoping that the construction will move ahead of schedule.

Thus far construction is moving quickly, according to Gutman. “Much of the load-bearing infrastructure of the most western building has been built. Sometime within the next month shafts for the stairwells and elevators will be built,” she said in an e-mail interview.

The University expects to be out of the Shoreland by the end of spring quarter 2008. The lease for the Shoreland allows the school an extension if needed, but Gutman said the University does not expect that will be necessary. She also said that there are no plans to close any of the existing dorms other than the Shoreland.

The new residence hall will consist of nine houses, but it is unclear as to whether they will keep the names of the 10 houses currently occupying the Shoreland. Gutman acknowledged that there is a great deal of history and identity tied to the houses in the Shoreland and that the University would like to somehow preserve their legacy in the new dorm.

However, Gutman said it is also important to recognize generous alumni by naming a new University building or sections of the building in their honor. Gutman said the search for a major donor for whom the dorm can be named is going well, but declined to mention specifics.

The new dining hall, which will be opening in the dorm’s first phase, will serve food that is made to order, as in Bartlett, and offered on an “all-you-care-to-eat” basis, as in Pierce and Burton-Judson, said Richard Mason, a director in Housing and Dining Services.

It is unclear whether or not the University will provide bus transportation to the new dorm for students, but Brian Shaw, director of Campus Transportation and Parking Services, said the University plans to conduct a south campus transportation study in the next year and a half.