WKU plans major construction on campus


A new residence hall will begin construction on WKU’s campus next fall.

Bryan Russell, WKU’s chief facilities officer and in charge of construction on campus, said the new dorm will be located near Gilbert Hall, Rodes-Harlin Hall and McCormack Hall.

This project will cost approximately $27 million. Russell said this new dormitory will be a 400-bed facility.

“Students really want the newer, styled, private bedroom,” Russell said. “That type of style I think is what students are looking for.”

Russell said WKU is hiring an architectural and engineering firm to design the building, which will be the first new dorm on campus in more than two decades. Russell said the building will be designed to match the architectural style of the university.

“The things put in the facility will be the latest and greatest when you talk about student expectations [for] having housing and living on campus,” he said. The new dorm will have both double and single-occupant rooms, and each room will have its own bathroom.

University officials expect the dorm will be in high demand among the freshmen and sophomores who are required to live on campus because of its updated design and features.

Dorms, along with general appearance, educational opportunities and price, are among the biggest things that attract students to universities. WKU hopes their new dorms will add a level of attraction to their campus and bring more people in.

Slated for the area called “The Valley,” the new dorm is the first project in a 10-year master plan for residence halls. That plan includes renovations to Southwest and Northeast halls, and demolition and replacement of Barnes-Campbell and H. Bemis Lawrence halls.

Russell said it’s a strategy to stay in a competitive market with other schools.

As WKU prepares for the new dorm project, it is continuing construction at several other locations on campus.

A new building for the Confucius Institute will be completed this summer, along with a renovation and expansion of Florence Schneider Hall to house Gatton Academy for Mathematics and Science, which will enroll 200 high school juniors and seniors on the WKU campus.

Construction also is under way on the new Ogden Hall in the university’s science complex, renovations to Hardin Planetarium and Helm Library and several smaller projects.

The university also is planning a large parking garage that will be built between Creason Avenue and Russellville Road.