Design chosen for new Iowa State residence hall; construction to begin May 11

Exterior at dusk

Here's a view of the new residence hall at dusk. Larger image.

AMES, Iowa—Opus Design Build has been selected to design and build a new residence hall at Iowa State University. The eight-story building, scheduled to open in spring 2017, will be constructed east of Buchanan Hall and provide a Cyclone home for 784 students. 

“This building design was fully informed by previous and current Inter-Residence Hall Association (IRHA) student leadership,” said Pete Englin, Department of Residence director. “Large student rooms, well-designed bathrooms and formal and informal gathering spaces for socializing and learning are all things our students helped us with in the design.”

Iowa State sophomore and IRHA Vice President Cole Staudt was part of the planning process. He said the student voice is important, because students are the ones who will make the new residence hall their home.

 “Our Department of Residence recognizes they’re here to serve students and help them succeed, not just provide a space to live,” said Staudt. “This building provides the spaces for interaction among students, and that’s what makes the residence halls so special.”

Grand elevated view, spacious accommodations

The building has a grand elevated view from the outside. An expansive main floor offers two recreation areas, as well as group and private study spaces, offices, laundry and an outdoor patio. Four elevators take students up to their floors, where they’ll step out into a “front-porch” gathering area. Floors consist of two houses. Each house has its own den, as well as two restrooms designed to maximize privacy. Spacious rooms will house two students each and provide a layout that easily accommodates modular furniture as well as other items students will bring with them.

“The house system in our halls is the cornerstone for delivering an experience where each and every student matters,” said Englin. “With houses at around 50 students, a large university like Iowa State can become a much smaller place where friends and the feeling of ‘home’ is quickly established.”

“We are excited to contribute in such a significant way to the ISU campus,” said Jeff Smith, regional director, Opus Design Build. “A residence hall is an important building that provides a home away from home and will be the center of most of the cherished memories in a student’s academic career. It is very energizing to be able to collaborate with the university and student stakeholders to complete such an important project on campus.” 

Over the past 10 years, enrollment at Iowa State has grown by 35 percent while demand for on-campus housing has outpaced that, increasing 55 percent during the same time period. The Department of Residence has accommodated growth by utilizing den spaces, adding 720 apartment-style beds in the Frederiksen Court community and leasing apartment spaces in Ames. A new residence hall helps provide a solution for growing numbers of students choosing to live on campus.

“This was a wonderful collaboration among our past and current residents, senior leaders at Iowa State, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa; and our colleagues within Facilities Planning and Management to deliver a new residence hall that will foster success for many generations of future Iowa State students,” Englin said.

The budget for the project is $49.5 million. This will be Iowa State’s first new residence hall since Martin Hall, a suite-style building, opened in 2003. The new hall is considered a traditional-style residence hall, and this will be ISU’s first traditional hall since Larch Hall opened in 1971.

About Iowa State University’s Department of Residence

Serving more than 12,200 students in 19 residence halls, two owned apartment communities and a leased and operated apartment community, 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.