Claflin University students will soon have the option of living in a new, 64,000-square-foot, environmentally sustainable residence hall.
It will house about 200 students and is expected to be complete in time for the 2014-15 school year.
University officials and friends broke ground on Thursday, and President Dr. Henry Tisdale said construction on the $12 million complex will begin immediately.
“The crews are already here,” he said.
The complex is being constructed on a parking lot along Goff Avenue, and Tisdale noted that a new one will be paved near Claflin’s Jonas T. Kennedy Center in time for the next school year.
Tijuana Hudson, vice president of business and finance, reported that the new facility will have two three-story wings connected by a shared commons area.
The commons area, which will separate the male and female wings, will include the main entrance, high ceilings with natural lighting, open gathering spaces, a multipurpose room for student meetings and two fitness rooms, Hudson said.
Each wing will be divided into two- and four-bedroom suites and have an elevator, laundry room, computer lab and informal study areas. They will also be served by a resident manager and resident coordinator.
Hudson noted that each wing will have card access locks that are accessible only to the residents of each wing.
Dr. Leroy A. Durant, vice president of Student Development and Services, said the new building will improve the quality of life of Claflin students, who will be able to use it to recruit other students to the university.
“This is a building like no other we have on campus,” he said. “When I look at this building, I’m just not looking at a residence hall. I’m looking at something ... that others across this country who want to build buildings for residential living will come and take a look at.”
Colleges and universities have to look into the future and construct buildings that will continue to attract students five and ten years down the road, and that’s what has been done with this building, according to Durant.
The new complex will use natural lighting, energy-efficient heating and air systems and high-efficiency plumbing fixtures to reduce consumption of energy and water.
Additionally, regional and recycled materials will be used in construction to conserve natural resources.
Designed to blend in with and complete the surrounding campus, the new complex will include outdoor gathering places for students.
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