Iowa State receives Regents approval to build new residence hall

AMES, Iowa—The Iowa Board of Regents today approved plans by Iowa State University to build a new residence hall east of Buchanan Hall.

“Since 2005, the demand for on-campus housing at Iowa State has outpaced enrollment growth,” said Pete Englin, Iowa State University Department of Residence director. “While enrollment has increased at a rate of 35 percent during that timeframe, demand for on-campus housing has increased at a rate of 55 percent. The addition of a new residence hall provides a solution to the university's growing need for student housing and helps to sustain the market as external partners within the Ames community look to grow and expand.”

In planning the new residence hall, teams from ISU’s Department of Residence and Facilities Planning and Management implemented a design-build process, the first for the university. The plan adds a minimum of 700 beds to the department’s current 10,959 permanent beds. The department’s capacity also includes interim housing and leased spaces.

The $49.5 million residence hall will be financed with revenues from two bond sales in 2015.

A request for qualifications was made public in November, with design-build teams answering the request for qualifications with their specific areas of expertise.

“With the design-build process, we are able to capitalize on the experience of well-qualified teams,” said Englin. “We provide the teams with the basic building blocks, and their specialists bring us the best value for our construction budget.”

In developing the building blocks for the new residence hall, the Department of Residence sought feedback from students related to what they wanted to see in a new campus home.

“Our students want to live in an area that includes ample shared spaces where they can congregate and study,” said Englin. “The Iowa State house system, which consists of 40-60 students, creates a special sense of community that our students value. Common spaces add to that experience by providing the informal interaction that helps students to know their neighbors and to build community with their peers.”

Once design-build teams are chosen, they will be sent a request for proposal that includes more specific information related to what is desired in the building. Teams will return their plans in the spring, with the final design-build team chosen after the plans have been submitted. Construction is anticipated to begin in May 2015 with the building projected to open to residents for the spring 2017 semester.

“The greatest compliment we can have is when students choose to live with us,” said Englin. “We are the place where students begin their adventure, and we have the responsibility and the opportunity to help students find their way in an environment that challenges them. The residence hall is a great place for that to take place.”

About Iowa State University’s Department of Residence

Serving more than 12,200 students in 19 residence halls, two owned apartment communities and two leased and operated apartment communities, Iowa State University’s Department of Residence provides a home to nearly one-third of the land-grant university’s student population. The staff works to ensure a safe, supportive, learning and social environment where students can thrive as they pursue their adventure at Iowa State.