|Construction Begins on New Apartment-Based Martin Court Residence Hall
February 17, 2010
Contact: Bill Giduz
A new student residence hall is taking shape at Davidson College.
Preliminary site surveying and soil testing began last week for an apartment building to be known as Martin Court G, to be located between Flowe Residence Hall and Turner House. "The state of the economy has led to very favorable costs for construction," said David Holthouser, director of physical plant. "That, plus the fact that we'll be using the same architectural plans we drew up for Ryburn Residence Hall make this a very timely, cost-efficient project."
The total cost will be about $5 million, which is about $200 per square foot for the 25,000-square-foot building. By updating the architectural plans for an existing residence hall rather than drawing up completely new plans, Holthouser said design costs for the project will be less than two percent of the total cost, rather than the usual 10 percent. The college will finance the project internally through board fees and existing funds for capital projects.
Little and Associates of Charlotte will update the existing plans to meet current building codes. Rodgers Builders of Charlotte, which has been involved with many campus construction projects at Davidson, will build the residence hall to LEED Silver standards. Students will begin occupying the new hall at the beginning of the spring semester 2011.
Associate Dean of Students Patty Perillo said the new residence hall will help Davidson retain its strong commitment to being a residential community. "We want 95 percent of our students to live on campus," she said. "There is substantial research informing us that residential living has many positive impacts, including a greater chance to informally and formally connect with faculty and staff, greater academic persistence, improved grade point averages, and more enjoyment of the college experience."
The new building will be the college's seventh residence hall on Martin Court, and 19th overall. It will include 15 apartments, with four on each floor except for the ground floor, which will have only three because one corner of the building will be below grade and dug into a hillside. Four students will live in each unit, with individual bedrooms, but a common living room, bathroom, kitchen and outdoor balcony. The building will include two elevators, two sets of stairs, and wheelchair accessible bathrooms.
Construction will not include a steel frame, but will be based on load-bearing masonry walls and pre-cast concrete floors.
Martin Court G will help the college meet its Strategic Plan goal of incrementally increasing enrollment by 150 to a total of 2,000. It will also help absorb the larger on-campus student population each spring, when students return from fall semester off-campus study programs. Davidson's on-campus student population currently ranges from about 1,620 students in the fall to 1,745 students in the spring.
The choice to build another apartment-style residence hall is based on student preferences. Though they're open to all students, the Martin Court apartments have earned the nickname of "The Senior Apartments" because they are quickly selected by rising seniors, who have first choice in the annual housing lottery.
Construction of Martin Court G will eliminate about 15 parking spaces in the lot beside the baseball field, but Holthouser said extra capacity for student cars is available nearby in the greenhouse parking lot. He also noted that construction will create noise and traffic for nearby residence halls, but said it will be intentionally minimized during early morning hours, and concentrated during the summer months.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,800 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.