Officials break ground on modern four-building, housing complex

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Lipscomb officials broke ground on the first of 11 planned residence hall buildings Wednesday morning. Fourteen Lipscomb leaders turned the earth on the new apartment-style residence hall going up in the former parking lot behind Elam Hall.

The four-building complex, the first new student residence hall since 1983, expected to open for use in fall 2008, will be unique on campus, featuring apartment-style suites and environmentally friendly construction standards.

“We’re building a residence hall that will be all about education,” Scott McDowell, associate provost for student development and dean of campus life told a large crowd gathered in the gravel behind Elam Hall. McDowell pointed out that the residence complex will have its own classroom and is designed to foster relationships, with apartment-style rooms, an open courtyard with for gathering, a fitness room and multi-purpose rooms.

One of the residence halls will be named after Bill & Marilyn Ezell, who helped shovel the first earth.
President L. Randolph Lowry said he was excited that the new residence halls will be used year-round for students and visiting professors.
After the ceremony, students were able to get photos with a DeLorean, because by the time they get back to campus in fall 2008, the future of housing will have arrived.
“This fall, we’ll have the tools we need to enhance the growing of relationships on campus,” McDowell said.

Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry also spoke at the ceremony, announcing that the first of the four buildings will be named after benefactors Bill & Marilyn Ezell.

Only juniors and seniors will be allowed to live in the new dorms, which will provide 168 new beds. The dorms will include four-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with a bathroom for every two beds. Students will be housed two per bedroom, and suites include kitchenettes. The halls will also have a physical fitness room, outdoor barbecue grills and general purpose rooms for meetings.

In fact, the lower levels of the three-story residence halls will be designed to house visiting professors or participants in long-term summer programs, an aspect Lowry said he is particularly excited about. Meeting rooms in the residence halls and the adjacent Bennett Campus Center can be used as a conference center to host overnight conferences and professional development programs, allowing year-round use of the residence hall facilities.

Lowry thanked the students and staff for their patience and understanding as the construction of new facilities this year eliminated a portion of the parking on campus. Cooperation with the Parking Partners program will ensure that the new residence hall is completed on time for students to move in at the open of fall 2008, he said.

Danny Taylor, senior vice president for finance and administration, said the dorms were designed in a modern style to serve the needs of upper-classmen. “We wanted to provide an additional style of housing not currently available on campus,” he said. “The suite layout, featuring semi-private bathrooms and kitchenettes, will be suitable for upper classmen who are now often moving off-campus when they turn 21, an option that can be very expensive in Green Hills or inconvenient to campus.”

Full-time Lipscomb students are required to live on campus until they turn 21 unless they are living with their parents. “These buildings will allow our older students to have the convenience of on-campus living with the feel of off-campus apartments,” Taylor said.

The $8.2 million, 50,000-square-foot complex is the first four of eleven planned residential buildings included in Lipscomb’s master plan. It is one of a number of construction projects included in Lipscomb’s $54 million Lipscomb 2010 initiative to improve academic programs, spiritual activities and facilities.

As part of Lipscomb’s new focus on sustainable operations, the residence halls will be constructed with geothermal heating and cooling, low-emission paints and stains, low-flow toilets, showers and kitchen faucets, energy-efficient light fixtures and native landscaping, said Don Johnson, director of facilities and director of sustainable facilities management.