Celebration marks two milestones in Shippensburg University housing project
By AMBER SOUTH
SHIPPENSBURG — Shippensburg University officials and friends stood between landscapes of the past and future as they broke ground Friday for phase two of a $200 million project to build new residence halls.
SU President Bill Ruud; Darrell Miller, president of SU Student Services Inc.; Ethan Goldbach, Student Senate president; Warren Burke, vice president of development for Campus Apartments; B. Michael Schaul, chair of the Council of Trustees; and Roger Serr, vice president of Student Affairs looked ahead to Presidents Hall, one of three buildings in phase one, as they dug their shovels into the prepared dirt mound.
Kieffer and Lackhove residence halls, two of several buildings that will be demolished in phase two, filled the landscape behind them.
The beginning of the second phase followed the official end of the first. Under the archway of Presidents Hall, the same men huddled together and cut a red ribbon to mark phase one’s completion.
Prior to that, they took turns speaking to students, officials and friends who gathered in the building’s multipurpose room for ceremonial remarks.
“This is a transformative project that has changed the landscape of Shippensburg University,” Ruud said.
The project shows that the university puts students first, he added. Standing beside a digital rendering of the aerial view of the future completed phase two, Ruud listed many of the design points and amenities included in phase one. Of those is the only combined health and counseling center in the 14 schools of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, he said.
Gratitude was given to the many people who contributed to the project.
Schaul, a 1971 undergraduate alumnus and 1972 graduate alumnus, noted that trustees who came before him worked to make the present campus possible, and thanked the students who supported the project.
Miller named individuals and talked about their specific contributions. He noted that “hundreds” of meetings were involved.
Speaking on behalf of Campus Apartments, Burke said the organization’s goal was to uphold the quality the university maintains on a daily basis. He commended Shippensburg University Student Services Inc. for bringing the project to life.
“It’s not easy and you guys made it happen,” he said.
Goldbach represented the university’s students at the ceremony. The project is a direct reflection of student input, and he is honored to be on the front lines, he said.
Some speakers reflected on the past and looked ahead to the future.
Schaul looked back on his own days as an SU student living in Naugle Hall and Old Main, when it was a living space.
The old residence halls, all built between 1959 and 1976, became banks for the huge mix of memories students had while living in them, Goldbach said.
“These residence halls represent the stories of the future,” he added.
Students moved into Presidents, Seavers and McLean II at the end of the fall semester in December so they would be ready for the spring semester upon returning in January.
The three-phase project began with preliminary work in August 2011, and construction followed in November 2011.
All buildings will have full-suite and semi-suite floors and include amenities that promote a living-learning lifestyle.
Phase one included the three buildings, two on the north side of campus and one on the south side, and accommodations for 924 students. McLean Hall II holds a 13,000 square-foot state-of-the-art wellness center, and Presidents Hall is the new home of the honors program. All three buildings include multipurpose programming areas, and study and social lounges.
The $65 million second phase will accommodate 922 students in three new residence halls on the south side of campus. They will include common areas for student interaction and learning opportunities, and a new green space for outdoor activities. Completion is expected in time for the fall 2014 semester.
Completion of the final phase (three more buildings) is expected by fall 2015. Accommodations will be available for about 2,900 students, an increase of about 260 students over the original housing capacity.
The project is under the direction of Shippensburg University Student Services Inc., Shippensburg’s chapter of an independent nonprofit organization that serves the student community. The organization worked with Campus Apartments to design, develop and secure funding for all three phases.
“I think we all knew from the beginning this was a great fit,” Ruud said about the university’s collaboration with the organization.
Campus Apartments collaborated with architect CUBE 3 Studio, general contractor Fortune-Johnson Inc. and consulting engineer Greenman-Pedersen Inc. to develop the project. Many specific contributors throughout these companies were recognized during the ceremony.
Campus Apartments worked with RBC Capital to secure bond financing for the first two phases.
Amber South can be reached at email@example.com and 262-4771.