DSU plans to build new residence hall

 

DOVER — On Friday, Delaware State University’s Board of Trustees announced plans to enhance the university’s capacity to meet its rapidly growing residential enrollment with a new 200,000-square-foot residence hall, to open in fall 2019.

The facility will feature the most contemporary design in residential living and learning on college campuses, and will house up to 600 students at maximum capacity, according to DSU spokesman Carlos Holmes.

The move significantly improves the university’s on-campus residential portfolio, the university said. Today, only 2,300 of the university’s 4,600 students live on campus.

Board Chairwoman Wilma Mishoe called the effort “a tremendous addition to our beautiful campus and a big win for the University’s students,” according to the announcement.

“Our number one priority at DSU is student success and we believe that encompasses every aspect of student life including rigorous academic offerings, exceptional teaching, learning and service opportunities, and a residential community that is inviting and inclusive,” Dr. Mishoe said.

“This new effort helps us match the demand we have felt from our students with the goals we have outlined for their success.”

In May 2016, the university initiated a project to identify specific housing needs and to meet increased demand with minimal financial impact to the students and to the university. The deal was developed as a Public/Private Partnership contract, in which a private developer will design, build, operate and maintain a facility through a long-term ground lease on the university’s Dover campus, DSU said.

After the lease term, the university will assume full ownership of the facility, saving millions of dollars in construction and operating costs while generating significant cash flow to pour back into the university’s strategic priorities.

DSU President Harry L. Williams said such a financing arrangement was not unusual in higher education.

“Universities like ours don’t always have the leverage or in-house expertise to effectively negotiate the terms; DSU is fortunate to have both,” Dr. Williams said. “We also have a board that is willing to be innovative in growing the campus without transferring the cost of that growth to our students.”

The project, DSU said, will also eliminate over $15 million in deferred maintenance, a significant cost in maintaining Tubman and Laws Halls, two of the oldest residential facilities on campus to be demolished at the conclusion of the new residence hall construction.

The five-story structure will be adjacent to historic Loockerman Hall, the birthplace of the University, and will also include a new dining facility and a ground floor innovation center that will create a critical connection between the university’s academic programs and student affairs, the University said.

DSU senior Tameka Shockley said she was pleased with the effort.

“I think this is an incredible addition to our already gorgeous campus and a great way to combine the latest technology with our academic programming, easy access living arrangements and residential activities that make better students and better citizens,” Ms. Shockley said.

“I am definitely excited for my younger classmates and future Hornets that we will have the opportunity to live in such a technology-rich environment.”

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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