Construction under way on new HSU student housing

ARKADELPHIA – Construction of new student housing is under way on the Henderson State University campus and the renovation of Henderson’s Garrison Student Center is nearing completion.
“Our plans to construct new housing are a direct result of conversation with students and prospective students about their needs and desires,” said Dr. Lewis Shepherd, vice president for student and external affairs. “Students have been included in the process of determining what type of facility to build, as well as contributing to the decisions about where new residential options should be located.”
This spring, Henderson’s Board of Trustees approved a special bond issue to fund the construction of new student housing. Included in the plans for the bond-issue funding are a 240-bed, apartment-style complex and a 300-bed traditional residence hall, as well as the purchase of the Whispering Oaks apartment complex. These additions will bring another 828 beds to the Henderson State University campus.
Groundwork has already begun on the 240-bed complex, which will include a clubhouse and swimming pool for residents. The complex will be located at 10th Street and M.H. Russell Drive, at the site of the former intramural fields.
“Our construction schedule – depending on the cooperation of weather – has the complex scheduled to open in time for the fall 2015 semester,” said Bobby Jones, vice president for finance and administration. The new construction will conform to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards, and LEED certification will be sought when construction is completed, Jones said.
The intramural field will be moved to a four-acre tract of land near the Henderson baseball field at the intersection of Mill Creek and 15th streets. This new intramural field – complete with lights and greater recreational opportunities – is scheduled to be open next spring.
“Staff members have been working to rearrange the intramural schedule for the coming academic year,” Shepherd said. “Plans include moving sports traditionally played in the fall to the spring semester and vice versa.” Events traditionally planned throughout the year on the intramural fields will be relocated depending on the season, weather, and event.
Land preparation has also begun on the 300-bed traditional residence hall near the intersection of 12th and Wilson streets.
Upgrades to the Garrison Student Center have continued throughout the summer, and the new Grand Ballroom (the former Day Gym) is scheduled to begin hosting events in the next few weeks. The Garrison Center will also house a substation for campus police.
Improvements to lighting and sound are being made in the center’s Lecture Hall. New paint and carpet are also part of the project.

In addition to the construction projects, several offices have been, or will be relocated:
• Campus Police moved its regular office to the Meeks House on 12th Street.  The Horton House will be demolished to enhance green space on campus.
• Package service from the campus post office has moved to a counter in the Reddie Bookstore.
• The Academic Advising Center will move to the third floor of Foster Hall.
• The Disability Resource Center will move from the third floor of Foster Hall to the first floor of Foster Hall.
• The Technology Center will move to the second floor of the Garrison Student Center.
• The STEM Center (Oliver House) will relocate to the Ramsauer House at 327 North 11th St.
• Music faculty who occupied the Blackmon House have been relocated to the Bowen House at 611 North 12th St.
• The Blackmon and Oliver houses were removed to provide adequate space for the 300-bed residence hall on Wilson Street.
The university is also in the process of identifying possible locations for new parking.