New residence hall planned for 2013

An artist’s rendering of the proposed residence hall complex. The new hall, located in the bottom center-left of the graphic, would replace the aging Cascade Complex (not pictured), which currently uses over 60 percent of the university’s steam heat generation. The project is expected to break ground next April, and be operational in fall of 2012.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed residence hall complex. The new hall, located in the bottom center-left of the graphic, would replace the aging Cascade Complex (not pictured), which currently uses over 60 percent of the university’s steam heat generation. The project is expected to break ground next April, and be operational in fall of 2012.

Southern Oregon University recently announced a plan to replace the Cascade Complex with a new, modern residence hall.

The construction project, which has been in the planning stages for approximately two years, is expected to begin in April 2012. The construction team consists of Sustainable Energy Reference Architecture and American Campus Communities, with assistance from Adroit Construction.

The new residence hall complex will be located on the north side of Ashland Street, and will consist of a 105,039 square foot semi-suite residence hall, which will house freshmen and sophomore students, and an 89,433 square foot suite residence hall to house junior and senior students. In addition to the residence halls, the new complex will contain a 27,800 square foot community center with a dining hall, convenience store, and lounge area.

According to Jonathan Eldridge, vice president of Student Affairs, the dorms will bring “state-of-the-art accommodations with much more privacy, amenities, and support systems for our students.”

The total cost for construction has been estimated at around $40 million. In order to fund the project, SOU will be leasing the land to be developed to a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, which will own the development for a projected thirty to forty years. During that time, rent paid by students who chose to live in the new dorms will be applied to the mortgage. Once the total amount is applied to the mortgage, SOU will own the complex.

Along with replacing the over 50-year-old Cascade Complex with a more private and modern hall, the new residence halls are also expected to save the school a significant amount of money in energy costs. Cascade uses an estimated 60 percent of the steam heat generated for the campus.

Eldridge explained that constructions costs are at an all-time low, and that this project will also provide a significant boost to the local economy, with the creation of over 200 construction jobs.

“We can put local people to work while getting the best financial deal we are likely to ever see,” he said, via email.

The project is expected to be completed and ready for occupancy in fall of 2013, and, according to Eldridge, “will continue to help the campus life be more vibrant and help more students be engaged in the life of the campus.”

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