Living Large: Plans Unveiled for New Residence Hall

Construction Starts in Spring for Facility Designed to House 400 Students

Jan. 14, 2008

It doesn’t take a mathematician to solve this equation:  private bedrooms + a community atmosphere = more school spirit.

That’s the aim of UT Dallas’ new freshman “living-learning” residence hall, which is slated for site work to begin in late March or early April.

“We looked at universities throughout the state and found the private bedroom option seemed to have the best potential for luring residents,” said Matthew Grief, director of housing operations at the University.  “But what we also found was that students really appreciate the community living and learning environment, and those kinds of spaces create traditions and experiences that instill pride and enthusiasm about where you go to school.”

The 400-bed, 148,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is planned for occupancy by fall 2009.  The building will be built on University-owned property on Rutford Avenue.

The new facility will offer living-learning environments, which group together students with similar interests and majors.  It will include copious amounts of open, communal space, and each floor will feature two large, open-air study rooms. The design complements the apartment living option already available at the University.

The four-story building’s entry — and focal point — will be a two-story high, 1,800-square-foot, glass-enclosed rotunda complete with pool and ping pong tables, a large- screen television, couches and chairs.  Stairs in that area will lead to a large second-story multipurpose room.

The first floor includes a reception desk that will be operated 24 hours per day, a kitchen with a sink, stove and dishwasher, full-service laundry facilities and a large vending area.

Also on the first floor will be a central mailroom and a large classroom that can accommodate as many as 22 students.

In addition, the first floor will house management offices and include two apartments for full-time professional staff.

“We hope this option in residential living will create a special kind of neighborhood on campus,” Grief said.  “In providing so many unique places for students to meet and collaborate — be it on school work or for social events — we hope that we’re fostering involvement and spirit.”

The building will be accessible by key card, as will living areas on each floor and individual suites.  It will include a mix of three-bedroom, single-bath suites and one-bedroom, one-bath units for peer advisers.

The furnished suites will feature a shared entry.  Living areas will have built-in counters in an alcove with phone, cable, data and convenience electrical outlets and a location for students to place a small refrigerator.  There also will be a shared bathroom with a private shower, private toilet and a vanity with sinks.

Individual room doors are lockable.  Each sleeping room has an exterior window, bed, desk with chair, dresser and closet.  Each also will have phone, cable, data and convenience electrical outlets.

Seven of the units will be specifically set aside and modified as necessary to accommodate people with disabilities, and the building will include elevator access. 

First-year students living in the new residence hall will be required to have a University meal plan.  A new dining hall is also in the planning stages.

Six community areas throughout the facility will include televisions, couches and chairs.  The center of the building will feature a large courtyard, and outdoor recreation amenities will include a sports court.  

The building’s façade will include a mixture of stone, brick, stucco and glass, and the residence hall will have a 200-space accessible parking lot.

On January 30-31, the University will display furniture in the Student Union so students can provide feedback about the different furniture options for the new residence hall.

The project’s cost is estimated at $20 million.  The design is being managed by engineering and architectural firm Jacobs Carter Burgess Inc.  Construction will be led by Austin Commercial.


Media contacts:  Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, jennib@utdallas.edu

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Aerial view of plans for the new dormitoryThe residence hall will have a large courtyard. The entry will be a two-story rotunda.


A look at the new dorm from street level The building will be built on Rutford Avenue and should be ready for occupancy by fall 2009.

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