“We hope to break ground in mid- to late July and have students in the new buildings by fall of 2013,” said James Sutherland, UWG’s vice president for business and finance.
Two existing residence halls, Downs Hall and Boykin Hall, will be torn down, along with the Art Annex building.
“These structures will be replaced with two new residence halls, totaling 460 beds and a new state-of-the-art, 30,000-square-foot dining facility, which will seat 320,” Sutherland said. “It will really dress up the east side of the campus.”
Plans also call for the construction of office space in the dining facility building for university housing and residence life.
The project will include an amphitheater, courtyards and terraces to encourage social interaction and lifestyle flexibility, Sutherland said.
In addition, the present 290-bed Bowdon Hall will be renovated inside and out, to include Americans with Disability Act handicap access, updated bathrooms, wireless network and other improvements.
Sutherland said the new dining hall will be in addition to the dining facility at Z-6 on the west side of the campus.
“This is an addition and not a replacement,” he said. “With our growth, especially in the evening, Z-6 is heavily used and sometimes it’s inaccesible to students.”
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia last week chose RA-LIN and Associates Inc. of Carrollton to provide construction management for the multi-phase project. The project team includes HADP as architect of record, Collins Cooper Carusi as associate architect and Hal Gibson Companies as program director.
“The goal is to enhance the student experience on campus by providing attractive and modern on-campus accommodations and amenities that will attract new students in support of our goal of becoming a destination university,” Sutherland said.
He said the university wants to increase students satisfaction with residence life to help increase enrollment, improve retention and graduation rates.
The residence halls being replaced or renovated were built between 1964 and 1977 and have had only minor upgrades, such as paint, carpet and roofs, over the years.
“We see these new facilities as a new legacy building statement at the front door to the east side of the campus,” said Ben Garrett, RA-LIN president. “We think of it as a bookend for the UWG Athletic Complex which we completed on the west side of the campus in 2009.”
Garrett said the project will incorporate designs which produce a green building, with level-2 certification of two “peaches” under the Georgia Peach program, a rating system for energy efficiency and construction standards for state buildings.
“We’re happy to find a local construction company with the experience, financial strength and capability to handle a project of this size,” Sutherland said. “All things being equal, we prefer that the payrolls and material expenditures be retained in the local area whenever possible. RA-LIN has an impressive track record of successful complex building projects, a great database and rapport with area subcontractors and building materials suppliers and the logistics advantage of being near the campus.”