Morrison Residence Hall might soon have company when it comes to housing options with super suites.
Rick Bradley, associate director of housing and residential education, said a new $29.3 million residence hall would be able to house about 276 students on South Campus.
He said the super suite-style residence hall would serve as a replacement for Odum Village, which is scheduled to close in 2015. The new option is expected to be located in the wooded area off of Ridge Road, between Rams Head Parking Deck and Morrison.
“We’re certainly at a point where to have an opening in fall 2016 is the plan,” Bradley said.
Bradley said the housing department partnered with a consulting firm in 2012 to conduct a survey about where students preferred to live. The results indicated that students were more inclined to go for low-cost options.
“Apartment-style housing is more preferred, but the cost is not affordable,” Bradley said.
Although the project has yet to be approved by UNC’s Buildings and Grounds Committee and the Board of Trustees, Bradley said design plans are in the works.
“Once that occurs, we expect to have final approval on the project in the next couple months,” he said, noting that construction of the hall could begin this summer.
The super suite style would be modeled after the top three stories of Morrison, which were built in 1965 and remodeled in 2006, Bradley said.
“The configuration in each super suite is a little more open of a floor plan than what Morrison did, because, keep in mind, Morrison was taking an existing building and modifying it,” he said.
Director of Housing and Residential Education Larry Hicks said each suite configuration would include a common area with four single bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Hicks said the project’s main design firm is Clark Nexsen, a Norfolk, Va.-based company which has designed buildings on several college campuses, including N.C. State University and Duke University.
He said the project is expected to be funded entirely through housing debt and existing fund reserves, which are maintained through student rent dollars. Hicks said this revenue model is standard for funding new construction projects.
“There is no anticipated major rent increase for the project, since additional revenues from the project (generated by the new rents) will fund the additional debt,” he said.
Physics and astronomy professor Tom Clegg, who sits on UNC’s Building and Grounds Committee, said the group has not seen the details of the plan yet but will likely discuss it at its meeting Thursday.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to make a decision until we see the plan.”
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