Doane University celebrated the start of construction on a new residence hall, to be completed in late 2023, with a short groundbreaking ceremony and press conference on Monday, Sept. 19. The conference featured information from Doane staff and administration about the process of designing the new residence hall and what to expect as construction begins.
“This is the first step in our capital improvement plans,” said Dr. Roger Hughes, Doane University president. “This new residence hall is designed to enhance the experience of our students and will include many state-of-the-art amenities.”
Event speakers included Hughes, Dr. Judy Kawamoto, vice president of the division of student affairs; Megan Failor, dean of students; and Brian Flesner, director of facilities, operations and construction projects. The new residence hall will be built on the northwest corner of campus, between Smith Hall and the Chab Weyers Education & Hixson Lied Art Building.
“It was really important as we began planning that students had a place at the table,” Failor said. “Throughout that period, we met with students to hear what they wanted. What stood out was that they wanted options and flexibility.”
The building’s design incorporates more collaborative, communal space for studying and socializing, with lounges on each floor, a designated game room, kitchen and laundry facilities. It’s designed so students can flow in and out of outdoor spaces, as well, with several patios overlooking greenspace and an outdoor amphitheater for events.
“It’s a living community, it’s a learning community, it’s a place where students grow together,” Kawamoto said. “Some of my best memories of college came from my experiences in the residence hall, and our professional staff are dedicated to making each Doane students’ experience just as transformational as mine.”
Students wanted to keep some of the features of the two previous residence halls, Burrage and Colonial Halls (colloquially known as the Quads), which were demolished along with existing parking lots and a basketball court over the summer. A beloved feature of the Quads was that they offered suites for up to eight students to live together, a setup echoed in the new hall. Plans for the new residence hall include suites for four up to eight students, with a total of 128 beds.
A new basketball court will be constructed just east of Smith Hall as well.
Much of the lower level of the residence hall will initially be left empty for storage, but can accommodate additional suites as needed. The building is also much more accessible for students with ADA needs — there are ground-level entrances in the lower level and first floor, in addition to an elevator.
Clark & Enersen, a Lincoln-based architecture firm, designed the education and art building and has led designs of the new residence hall. Sampson Construction, also locally based, will oversee the earthwork, utilities installations and building construction, along with subcontracting.
The next two months will be focused on earthwork, foundations and footings for the building, utility work and pouring a portion of a new parking lot on the north side of the site toward the street.
“At that point, the building construction will begin and continue over the next several months. We will then work to have full occupancy by January 2024,” Flesner said. “We’re excited to work on a project that provides students with a new, modern housing option and that brings a whole new look to the north side of campus.”
Heavy equipment will continue to move in and out of the fenced-off project site, and Doane’s facilities team will closely monitor safety alongside Sampson Construction. Students, visitors or community members with questions or concerns can reach out to the facilities team or Doane’s Public Safety Office.