When construction began on Bechtel Hall last winter, some questioned whether it would be large enough to handle the number of students wishing to live on campus. That answer became much clearer this spring when St. Ambrose braced for unprecedented growth in the first-year class--68 students more than anticipated.
The result: freshmen were placed in overflow housing, which included lounges in Rohlman Hall and houses spread throughout campus. In fact, this year 35 university-owned houses are home to 192 residential students of all class years, when the purpose of the new hall was to put fewer students in houses.
To meet these demands, the SAU board of directors has approved the building of yet another residence hall that will be move-in ready by fall 2005. The 204-bed, four-story traditional housing facility will cost an estimated $7 million, which includes the cost of construction, furnishings and fixtures.
Stan Kabat, dean of students, says that with the addition of this building, "St. Ambrose is making another move closer to being one of the Midwest's most distinguished universities as we develop a greater residential capacity and as we continue developing a community where people live, study and work together."
Configured similar to Rohlman, Cosgrove and Bechtel, the new hall will be constructed in the parking lot west of the bookstore, between Pleasant Street and the alleyway just north of Locust Street, fronting onto Ripley Street. Kabat says the hall will have lounges on each floor that can be converted into overflow housing, and there will be at least eight single-occupancy rooms. Student Services is currently surveying student satisfaction with Bechtel Hall to determine if any changes should be made in planning the new building.
Site work will begin right after Thanksgiving. To make up for lost parking, new spaces will be created behind Hagen and Tiedemann, and around campus.
President Ed Rogalski hopes this hall will be the last residence facility needed to see St. Ambrose through the next several years. As such, it will complete what is now being dubbed "Residence Row," providing an architectural bookend--along with Bechtel Hall--to the Tiedemann-Hagen facilities.