Chancellor Doug Kristensen

The first of three new suite-style residence halls will be ready for University of Nebraska at Kearney students next fall as the result of a successful bid process, University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Doug Kristensen announced today.

“We are excited to move forward on the projects,” Chancellor Kristensen said. “The suite-style housing will help with student recruitment as well as preserve the essential character of UNK as a residential community.” Nationwide, colleges and universities are moving to suite-style residence halls.

Bids on more than 50 subcontractor packages came in within the $18 million budgeted. Bids on the projects were received last Thursday by Sampson Construction, which is working in a construction-manager-at-risk capacity on the projects.

A team comprised of UNK staff, Sinclair Hille Architects and Sampson Construction worked together in advance of the bid process to identify areas in which to reduce the cost of the project while maintaining quality. The success of the bid process was attributed, in part, to going to a construction-manager-at-risk contract type rather than the original design-bid-build plan.

“By going to the project team, UNK has been able to selectively redesign, redraw and reissue building component details, which meet approved budget valuations while maintaining the original building footprint, bed count, technology and amenity offerings to UNK students,” said Lee McQueen, UNK director of Facilities Management and Planning.

“The change in the delivery method of construction allows UNK involvement in every aspect of containing costs while striving to preserve the quality of the buildings,” he said.

Initial bids in February came in $4 million over budget and were rejected. With the successful bid process, the first suite-style residence hall will be ready to house 160 students by next fall. The two remaining halls, which are expected to be complete in the fall of 2008, will house a total of 172 students.

The three halls will be built north of Founders Hall and east of the Cope Memorial Fountain on the UNK campus. Earlier this year, Case and Ludden Halls were razed to make way for the new construction. Case Hall was built in 1930; Ludden, in 1961.

Currently, UNK has eight traditional residence halls, two semi-suites residence halls and an apartment complex, which primarily houses married students.

In the new suite-style halls, students will be able to choose between two or four single-bedroom units. Each suite will include a kitchenette, complete with double sinks, full-sized refrigerator and microwave oven. In addition, each suite will have a living room area and bathrooms, shared with only one other student. Each hall will also include laundry facilities, community kitchens and adjacent meeting/gathering rooms.