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Construction of new dorm begins

John Tierney | Thursday, April 3, 2008

Construction has begun for a new women’s residence hall adjacent to the Hammes Bookstore, the University announced Wednesday.

The yet-to-be-named residence hall is scheduled to open for the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year and will be 74,600 square feet and house 248 female students, according to a University press release.

The residence hall is the second in a series of four new dorms currently mandated by the University.

The first new dorm in the plan is Duncan Hall, a men’s dorm, which is scheduled to open in August. Construction on Duncan Hall is on track for completion in time for students to move in for the fall semester and interior construction is ahead of schedule, said Jeff Shoup, director of the Office of Residence Life and Housing.

Assistant Rectors and Resident Assistants for Duncan Hall were hired at the same time they were selected for other halls.

A rector has not been selected for Duncan, but Shoup said that the Office of Student Affairs is in the beginning phases of the process. An announcement may not occur until the summer, Shoup said.

The other two planned residence halls in the University’s plan – one male, one female – will be located on part of what used to be Juniper Road, east of Pasquerilla East and Knott Halls, Shoup said.

There is no specific timeline for construction to begin on the Juniper Road dorms, he said.

The University is adding the four dorms in an attempt to alleviate problems in some of the existing dorms Shoup said.

“We’re not adding lots of overall beds [in the new dorms], but we’re making the other halls more livable,” Shoup said.

In building the new West Quad dorms, the University is looking to remove beds from some of the overcrowded, older halls, such as Zahm, Morrissey, and Alumni, he said.

“People are stacked in too tight,” Shoup said.

The second phase of dorm construction-the Juniper Road dorms-is focused on renovating halls that do not currently fit with the University’s idea of residence life, he said.

Dorms such as Keenan and Stanford Halls are especially in need of renovation, Shoup said.

It is also an attempt to give students more options within the residence halls, he said.

“It’s more of an issue with our philosophy to give students more options with their living arrangements,” he said. “We want to knock down some walls to make some rooms that are triples and quads.”

Shoup said the University is looking to renovate existing halls, and that it has no plans to close any dorms.

“We’re not planning to close any of the halls,” he said. “It’s not the long term goal of the University. Even if we did major renovations, our goal would not be to close the hall for the renovation. We’d do it over the summer.”

The University’s desire to keep all its residence halls open during the school year, even while renovating, is unique to Notre Dame, he said.

“Most other places would take a hall offline for a year, but we don’t want to do that,” he said. “It disrupts the community – it might significantly change the way a community would interact with each other.”

When asked specifically about rumors that Fisher, Pangborn, Stanford, and Keenan Halls are in danger of being closed, Shoup strongly denied that the University had any such plans.

“We’re not planning on removing any residence halls. We’re going to renovate rather than tear them down,” Shoup said.