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New Residence Hall to Open in Fall 2012

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In October, the Lewis & Clark Board of Trustees approved the construction of a LEED gold-rated residence hall on the undergraduate campus. The Chronicle sat down with Celestino Limas, dean of students and chief diversity officer, to find out more.

Why is Lewis & Clark building a new residence hall during such financially challenging times?

Right now, with low interest rates and low construction costs, we have a particularly attractive window of opportunity to affordably build an additional residence hall.

Funding for the new hall, which is estimated to cost approximately $11.5 million, will be included with the refinancing of the college’s debt in new bonds to be issued in 2011. The new hall will pay for itself entirely from the additional room and board revenue it generates. In addition, it will help contribute toward our auxiliary income and can help expedite our ability to pay down our debt load. And because the venture is designed to be self-sufficient, it will not impact our bond rating.

Why is the LEED gold rating significant?

It is significant because, for many years now, we have made strides in establishing ourselves as an institution committed to sustainability.

Since 1989, Lewis & Clark has shrunk its carbon footprint by conducting a series of studies on its energy use practices. Since then, the college has achieved substantial cost savings by partnering with regional utility and engineering companies and installing a microturbine and solar panels.

Above that, our students and faculty work hard to ensure that Lewis & Clark’s sustainability efforts are grounded in current research. From the efforts of student groups—like Students Engaged in Eco- Defense (SEED) and the Student Academic Affairs Board (SAAB)—to the accomplishments of those who are devoted to service work overseas, we realize that sustainability is about much more than greening our campus.

Building a certified LEED gold facility will be another highly visible demonstration that Lewis & Clark is steadfast in its commitment to sustainable practices.

Who is going to design and build the new residence hall?

Last fall, an evaluation committee composed of student, staff, and trustee representatives invited five design/build teams to submit proposals for a new residence hall.

Walsh Construction and Mahlum Architects were selected due to their thorough understanding of student housing, their exciting design, and their competitive price.

What is the project time line?

We hope to break ground by early summer and complete the project by fall 2012.

Where will the new residence hall be located?

The new hall will be constructed on the southern end of campus, near East Hall. It will be located in the area between Hartzfeld Residence Hall and the Facilities Services building.

How many students will the new residence hall accommodate?

Approximately 170 students.

Who will be eligible to live there?

Seniors and juniors will have the opportunity to live in the new residence hall. If we are unable to fill it with undergraduate students, we will offer law and graduate students the opportunity to have a floor in the new hall.

How does Lewis & Clark plan to compete with the sometimes low price of off-campus housing and entice upperclass students to live on campus?

We need to be more aggressive about this. In the past, we haven’t marketed the fact that our room rate includes electricity, gas, water, heat, trash, Internet, security, and other costs. We can and will do a better job of marketing the financial benefits of living on campus along with the convenience and community benefits that are immeasurable.

Will the new residents be allowed to park cars on campus, and, if so, are there plans to increase the number of parking spaces available at Lewis & Clark?

We will actually not lose any parking spaces with this new project, and yes, students living in this new hall will be able to park cars on campus. We are also pursuing the acquisition of two additional U-Car Share vehicles specifically for residents of the building, which would be parked within footsteps of the front door. This would create a very attractive alternative for students and, if it succeeds, could genuinely change how we use our U-Car Share vehicles.

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