Board of Regents approve construction of new residence hall for Fall 2014 – The Daily Toreador (registration)

Work will begin immediately on a new residence hall, which is expected to be completed by Fall 2014, Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning and Construction Michael Molina said.

The Board of Regents approved the hall presented by the Facilities Committee at its meeting at 8:30 a.m. Friday. The Board heard discussion about the proposed hall Thursday.

The first 60 days, Molina said, is the programming phase but work will begin in February 2013.

Board of Regents Chairman Jerry Turner said he voted for the complex because it is a necessity to Tech.

“With the growth that we’re having, with the emphasis on increasing our graduate students, I think that this residence hall concept is a terrific idea,” Turner said. “It’s a terrific opportunity for the university and a great need for the university.”

Molina said the project will be broken into three key phases, with the budget for the first phase totaling $50 million.

The goal, he said, is to be substantially complete with the residential complex by July 2014 with heads in beds by that August.

The new residence complex will be located east of Knoxville Avenue in the triangle bounded by 19th Street and Texas Tech Parkway.

The project will create a 500-bed, 15,000-square-foot student residential village-style complex and will resemble the Spanish Renaissance style of Tech, Molina said.

The village, he said, will be in a modular style with 10 to 12 buildings with approximately 40-50 beds in each and will be pedestrian-centric, with no through traffic or parking in the complex.

Rather than being army barrack style, Molina said the buildings composing the village will be of various heights and designs.

Along with structural design elements, the complex will have courtyards and green zones.

“From a design perspective, it’s a very kind of exciting solution,” Molina said.

It also will feature efficiencies, studio suites and conventional apartments, he said.

The target demographic for the complex, Molina said, is graduate, law, medical and upperclass students although all students are encouraged to live in the residence halls. 

However, Student Regent Suzanne Taylor said there is no consensus among the graduate student population that a graduate-student oriented residential complex is necessary.

While this may be the case, Chancellor Kent Hance said the complex’s construction is not dependent on the targeted population. 

Molina said the project will be funded through the Revenue Finance System and will be repaid by university housing, totaling $45 million.

The $5 million left to be repaid will come from the hospitality service funds generated by the food retail services, he said.  

One percent of the budget, Molina said, will go toward landscaping while another 1 percent will fund public art.

Hance said the complex is in such great demand that it could be used in Fall 2013, although the completion date is a year later.

“We’ve got to continue to provide more on-campus housing,” he said. “(Students will) see it’s going to be state of the art. It’s going to have good parking and also it’s going to be close enough to the bus routes that you’d be able to get anywhere on campus real quick.”

Interim President Lawrence Schovanec said the village-style complex is an exciting development and will appeal to a broader spectrum of students.

One of the motivations for the complex, Schovanec said, arose from data, which showed students who live on campus perform better academically and are more likely to graduate.

“We think this will contribute to student success in a very broad way,” he said. “We have a demand for more on-campus living than we can provide.”

Schovanec said many student-support activities, such as supplemental instruction and student-learning groups are coordinated in residence halls.

Phase 2 would create a mixed-use retail/entertainment district while Phase 3 would add 500-beds.

The second and third phases, Molina said, are interchangeable and will depend on what is needed.

When an additional 500-bed hall is constructed in the complex, he said, it will be necessary to build one or two separate vertical parking structures.

There are 370 parking spaces available in the area of the future complex, which Molina said is adequate for a 500-bed residence hall.

The ratio, he said, is just below the one-to-one ratio on campus.

Phase 2, the mixed-use retail/entertainment district, would create a variety of eateries in the complex.

However, Molina said, the services would be open to all Lubbock residents, not just students, and would consist of university brand food, such as Sam’s Place and food franchises.

An important aspect of the “West Gateway,” as it was called during the Board of Regents meeting, is its location between 19th Street, Texas Tech Parkway and Marsha Sharp Freeway.

“From a real estate perspective, — location, location, location,” Molina said. “We feel like that is an excellent opportunity not just to serve the Tech community, but to serve the area community in Lubbock.”

The time frame for Phase 1, Molina said, is 18 months, which is approximately the same amount of time it took to complete the former Boston Avenue Residence Hall, now known as the J.T. and Margaret Talkington Hall.