JACKSON, Tenn. – Feb. 21, 2008 – Union University will begin immediate construction on a new student residence complex that will house some students as early as Sept. 1.
Representatives from Union’s board of trustees are still working on details with contractors, but Union will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Feb. 22, with site work scheduled to begin Feb. 25 and contractors beginning their work in early March.
The complex will house more than 700 students when it is fully completed. Initial plans call for half of the facility to be complete by Sept. 1. Union officials expect the second half of the complex to be complete by the spring 2009 semester.
The two-story residence buildings will replace the old Watters and Hurt complexes, which housed about 700 students and sustained heavy damage in the Feb. 5 tornado that caused an estimated $40 million in damage to the Union campus. None of the buildings in those two complexes was salvageable and the entire complexes were demolished the week of Feb. 11.
The new student housing facilities will be located in the former location of the Watters and Hurt complexes.
The apartment-style rooms in the new housing complex will feature four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchenette and a washer/dryer in each suite. Each building in the complex will contain 40, 48 or 56 bedrooms.
Union University President David S. Dockery said the new student housing complex will have “a very handsome look” similar to the appearances of Jennings Hall and White Hall on the west side of the Union campus.
The complex will ultimately consist of four “quads” with four buildings in each quad. Initial plans call for the completion of two quads, plus three buildings in each of the two remaining quads. A men’s commons and a women’s commons building will complete each of the final two quads after the rest of the buildings are finished.
All rooms will open to the inside of the quad, providing added security, Dockery said. In addition, each bathroom on the lower floor will be reinforced to serve as a safe room for students in the event of a storm.
Total cost for the project is estimated to exceed $30 million.
In July, Union began construction on a residential complex that was scheduled for completion in 2008. It was originally projected to house 100 students in a four-story, hotel-style facility. But in light of the most recent developments surrounding the tornado damage, the university has decided to discontinue construction on that building.
Union will hold a groundbreaking for the new student housing facilities Feb. 22 during the chapel hour at 10 a.m. The hour will begin in the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel, and will conclude with the groundbreaking service on the site of the new student housing complex, weather permitting.
Detailed images of the proposed plans for the new student housing facilities are available at www.uu.edu/rebuilding.