The Washburn University Board of Regents approved a $30 million construction contract for a new residence hall and dining facility on the east side of campus along Washburn Avenue. The board approved a bid from McPherson Contractors of Topeka as the general contractor for the project. The new residence hall will add 350 beds to help meet a growing demand for on-campus housing at Washburn.
“We’ve had a waiting list for on-campus housing for several years now,” according to Dr. Jerry Farley, president of Washburn. “And, we’ve seen the off-campus housing near Washburn fill to near capacity so we’re confident this is a project that will have a positive impact on the university and the surrounding community.”
The new suite-style residence hall will feature common living areas similar to those found in other Washburn campus housing. This time, however, the university is also including a new dining facility.
“We have seen support for additional food service options on campus including options for late-night dining,” Farley said. “This will ease demand at peak periods in our existing dining facility in the Student Union as well as provide new dining opportunities for both resident and commuter students.”
“Increasingly, students indicate they want the option to live on campus and they want just the kind of amenities we are planning for this new facility,” Farley said. “We also placed it near our state-of-the-art student recreation and wellness center to provide easy access to that very popular facility. Combined with the on-site food service, we think this new residence hall will prove very popular as we continue to expand our recruiting efforts.”
Construction on the new residence hall will start later this month with completion anticipated by July 2016 – in time for the 2016-2017 school year.
In separate action, the board also approved an $800 thousand contract to add two additional parking lots on the campus. The lots will be built at Jewell Avenue and Durow Drive near the KTWU television studios, near the new KBI laboratory as well as the site of the proposed new building for the School of Law. The new lots will provide 214 additional parking spaces to alleviate congestion during peak class periods and will offset the temporary loss of 115 parking spaces around the new residence hall construction site.