New Residence Halls Construction Update

Glennis Nagel

Progress continues on schedule on three new suite-style residence halls under construction at UNK, the fi rst of which is expected to be available for move-in by students this coming fall, according to Lee McQueen, director of Facilities Management & Planning.

“Currently, we are on schedule, as we had hoped to be,” McQueen said. “The foundation is complete for Building C and the construction crew is in the process of building the stair towers. The stair towers are built separately, because they’re built out of block.”

The three buildings, pending a formal naming process underway, are now referred to as “Building A,” “Building B” and “Building C,” oddly ordered by construction crews to be completed in order of C, B and A.

“Further, the fi rst fl oor, west wing structure is framed, and structural steel is being installed in the basement level east and center wings,” he said.

A Web cam has been installed, which allows work to be viewed as it happens. To access the Web cam, go to: ces/facilities/index.php?id=606

At that same Web address, progress on the building can be followed via a blog that is being written by Ryan Swanson, associate director of Facilities Management and Planning and campus architect.

“The schedule and weather have been such that the construction has moved ahead on some of the foundation work, plumbing and stair towers for Building B, as well,” McQueen said. No site work has begun on Building A.

Bids on more than 50 subcontractor packages came in last August within the $18 million budgeted. Sampson Construction of Kearney and Lincoln is working on the residence hall project in a construction-manager-at-risk capacity. 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.

“By going to the project team, UNK was 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 for UNK students,” McQueen said.

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

In 2006, 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.

“We are excited to move forward on the projects,” Chancellor Doug 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 suitestyle residence halls.