Residence Halls Overcrowded, New Dorm Pushed Back

The September 10 edition of the Houstonian highlights some of the issues in student housing that begin the Fall 2013 semester:
In order to meet the demand of the growing number of students who live on campus, SHSU will be building two dormitories scheduled to be open by the 2016-17 academic year, according to officials.

The new facilities, tentatively named the South Residential District, will be located south of 21st Street between Ave. I and Ave. J, and should house approximately 650 students in total.

The site for the project is currently home to a university-operated commuter parking lot and the Richmond Apartments, which were purchased by SHSU in 2012. The Richmond Apartments will be demolished to clear space for a new parking lot, and the South Residential District dorms will be built where the parking lot lies.
The proposal also includes a road expansion to provide better access to the new residence halls.

"A lot of times, when you need to build a new dorm, you can raze one of the old ones and construct on that lot," [director of residence life Joellen] Tipton said. “We can’t afford to lose a dorm for the length of time it would take to build another one in its place. During pre-planning we had to determine where we had the space and where it was feasible to build the new residential complex.”

Currently, residence life uses Sorority Hill for overflow housing for freshman girls who couldn't be accommodated in a regular dorm with the hope that once the rush period ends, sorority pledges who live in a dorm on campus would be willing to swap rooms with a student temporarily living in their respective sorority house.

The TSUS Board of Regents approved the development of the South Residential District at their quarterly meeting in May as part of an omnibus capital improvements program, which included several renovations to the SHSU campus.

In addition to constructing the South Residential District, the capital improvements program includes the eventual demolition of Randel, Vick and Spivey Houses, White Hall, and Sorority Hill, the construction of a new art complex and $30 million in renovations to the Lowman Student Center.

TSUS documents show the cost of the project will total more than $87.5 million, by far the largest capital improvement project slated through 2019.

The next step in the development of the South Residential District is the design phase, which precedes construction. Groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for summer 2015.


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