Modern student housing will help redefine the core of UNL’s East Campus.
Offering an estimated 370 beds in a mix of traditional and apartment-style units, the new residence hall will be built on the site of Biochemistry Hall, immediately north of C.Y. Thompson Library and east of the East Union. The project, scheduled to open for the fall semester in 2017, will replace the 300-bed, 1950s-era Burr and Fedde residence halls.
Ronnie Green, vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said the residence hall project coupled with plans to renovate dining hall facilities in the East Union and the addition of a student learning commons in C.Y. Thompson Library, will redefine the core of East Campus.
“We are a world-class institution and our campus should reflect that same world-class capacity for learning, scholarly activity and outreach to the greater public we serve,” Green said. “As a faculty member, parent and now a campus administrator, I absolutely believe that students are indeed the core in every way of what we do and welcome the opportunity for greater numbers of our student body to be in, on and around our campus as their home.”
Facilities Management and Planning started preparing the site for construction in mid-March. That work included removing trees that were too large to be moved, unlike those relocated ahead of construction of UNL’s new College of Business Administration building.
Eileen Bergt, assistant director of landscape services, said the university is working to save a unique Turkish filbert located on the construction site. Also, Green said the Nebraska Forest Service plans to repurpose wood from trees removed from the construction site.
Demolition of Biochemistry Hall is scheduled to start around May 18. During the summer and early fall, utility lines connecting the biochemistry building will be relocated, allowing construction of the residence hall to begin by early October.
“We are excited to see this project kick off,” said Sue Gildersleeve, director of University Housing. “It is important that University Housing offer an upgraded facility for East Campus students. And, this move to the core of campus will significantly enhance the vibrancy of East Campus life.”
Offices in Biochemistry Hall are being relocated into other East Campus space. The move of food science and technology to Nebraska Innovation Campus is making the reorganization of East Campus office space possible.
University administrators said the project is not expected to impact the nearby arboretum and prairie.
The new residence hall will include an estimated 134 apartment-style beds as well as 238 beds in traditional-style housing. The apartment-style units will include studio, two and four bedroom apartments with a bathroom, living room and kitchen. The traditional residence hall section of the facility will include both double- and single-occupancy rooms configured in communities of approximately 30 residents. Each 30-person community area will include three bathrooms, a social lounge and dedicated study room.
A full-service reception/front desk area will be located at the main entry, along with staff offices, a large multi-purpose room, game room, conference room and public restrooms. Each floor will offer a community lounge and laundry room.
Once the new facility opens, Burr and Fedde residence halls will be scheduled for demolition. According to the UNL master plan, the space will be converted into green space.
Gildersleeve said Love Memorial Hall, an all-female cooperative, will continue to be offered as an East Campus housing option after the new hall opens.