New Dorms Highlight Fall Semester At MSU
New residence halls highlight MSU campus capital improvements
STARKVILLE, Miss. – With the 2016 fall semester at Mississippi State University fast approaching, progress continues on many capital improvement projects at the Starkville campus.
“Under Dr. Keenum’s leadership, we have experienced record-setting student enrollment on campus, and we expect that trend to continue,” Vice President for Campus Services Amy Tuck said.
“We are working with our partners at IHL, the state Department of Finance and Administration Bureau of Buildings, and the Legislature to ensure that new construction, maintenance and renovation on campus will meet the needs of our students, faculty and staff while being good stewards of public resources,” she added.
During MVNU2MSU on Aug. 6, students will move into two new residence halls on the north side of campus, Earnest W. and Mary Ann Deavenport Hall and Dogwood Hall. The $60.5 million project also includes an adjacent building that will house the university’s G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans at Nusz Hall, named for alumni Tommy and Terri Nusz and honoring the nation’s veterans.
The new residence halls are located just west of George Perry Street and south of Bailey Howell Drive. Combined, the two residence halls total 250,000 square feet. The steel-framed buildings are equipped with wireless internet, cable TV outlets, community kitchens, laundry rooms and private bathrooms. The residence halls are the first on campus to include a “quad” configuration in certain units. The quad units, available only to upperclassmen, consist of four private bedrooms, two shared bathrooms and a shared living and kitchen space.
“Mississippi State University has been a trend-setter in providing state-of-the-art, new construction residence halls for more than a decade,” MSU Director of Housing and Residence Life Ann Bailey said.
“Today’s students bring high expectations to campus housing, especially related to privacy, technology and convenience. Beyond providing amenities, research shows that students who live on campus tend to perform better academically and develop social skills that contribute to student learning and overall success,” she said.
Dogwood and Deavenport Halls on the north side of campus will add approximately 750 beds, bringing MSU’s total bed space capacity to nearly 5,300 beds, Bailey said.
The new Center for America’s Veterans at Nusz Hall is located north of the new residence halls. Staff members will move from their current home on Magruder Street to the new, 7,500 square foot building when it is completed early in the fall semester. Philadelphia-based W.G. Yates and Sons is the contractor for the residence halls and veterans center.
Just south of the new residence halls on the southeast corner of George Perry and Barr Avenue, work continues on the $41.3 million, 150,000-square-foot classroom building and parking garage. MSU Office of Planning Design and Construction Administration Director Tim Muzzi said the new building has a target move-in date of January 2017. The building will contain 60,000 square feet of parking space and 90,000 square feet of classroom space, which could be used by more than 11,000 students on the busiest class days.
Both the residence halls and the classroom building are designed to incorporate the “architectural language” of the center of MSU’s campus. The classroom building also incorporates elements of Old Main, the historic dormitory that burned down in 1959. Johnson Construction is the contractor.
“If you look at the classroom building that’s going up and you look at the new residence halls, from the north, that has just changed the landscape of the campus,” Muzzi said. “I am very pleased with the design and construction that I’m seeing. I think it’s absolutely beautiful.”
MSU recently completed a $3.1 million renovation to the Roberts Building on Lee Boulevard. The Roberts Building now houses the campus U.S. Post Office and an improved space for MSU’s Office of Parking and Transit Services.
Moving the post office frees up the former mail hub, the YMCA building, for renovations that are expected to begin this fall. The 102-year-old YMCA building will house the university’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice President for Budget and Planning, Dean of Students and legal counsel. Muzzi cautioned that there likely will be overlap between the YMCA building renovations and the continued construction of the neighboring classroom building, which could cause congestion in the area.
In addition to the improvements for academic buildings, a major enhancement to the MSU soccer field will be completed early in the fall semester. Construction is wrapping up on the new 3,857-square-foot women’s soccer field house, which is located just east of the playing field. Copeland and Johns is the contractor for the $1.5 million project, which will include team and coach’s locker rooms, equipment and team rooms.
Although the construction crane has come down on Hardy Road, work is still ongoing for Mitchell Memorial Library’s expansion. The portion of Hardy Road that runs adjacent to the library remains closed to vehicular traffic. The 21,000-square-foot addition will house exhibits and documents for the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library. Construction on the $8.3 million expansion is scheduled to finish in early 2017, with work on the exhibit spaces beginning shortly afterward. West Brothers Construction is the project contractor.
On the south end of campus, dirt work is underway for the new Meat Science Lab near the southwest corner of the Blackjack Road and Stone Boulevard intersection. The $8.2 million building will contain a harvest area, demonstration area, freezer space and a classroom. Two adjacent facilities for poultry science and animal and dairy sciences are in the pre-planning process.
Construction also is expected to begin in the coming weeks on the $4.6 million NSPARC data center in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park. Demolition work also is ongoing for the former housing units in Aiken Village.
Muzzi said all of MSU’s new construction and building renovations are done with sustainability and energy efficiency in mind. When economically feasible, the university aims to exceed state energy requirements by 30 percent. The new classroom building is expected to have an average energy cost of approximately 75 cents per square foot per year, which is significantly lower than most buildings on campus.
“We look at materials, we look at orientation,” Muzzi said. “We’re all about trying to make our buildings more sustainable and energy efficient, as well as our campus, too.”
In addition to the building projects, two ongoing road projects will impact the MSU campus. The Mississippi Department of Transportation is working on improvements to the Highway 12 and Russell Street intersection that borders the MSU campus. The improvements are designed to make the area more pedestrian friendly and better connect the MSU campus to the city of Starkville. Gregory Construction Services is the contractor for the MDOT-led project, which is expected to be completed this fall.
Work also is underway on the $18.7 million south entrance road. The 3.5-mile long road will connect Poorhouse Road to the south end of campus at Blackjack Road. The new road is expected to improve access to campus and allow for better traffic flow during football game days. Eutaw Construction is the contractor.