The University of Lynchburg community can now take a peek inside the new residence hall that will be built, beginning this summer. A new video tour, released today, uses a three-dimensional model to guide viewers through the residence hall as students and faculty explain the facility’s new features.
This comes a few weeks after the community got to see detailed conceptual drawings of the project. As one might imagine, the conceptual drawings for the project — the first major residence hall built at Lynchburg in 50 years — have created a stir on campus.
“Students have been very excited about the new building,” Kristen Cooper, director of residence life at Lynchburg, said. “We have had the opportunity to share the images and concepts with a variety of groups and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Our goal is to continue sharing updates of the progress and new images with students throughout the building phase. We want to ensure that students feel involved and connected to the project.”
Wyatt Weaver ’18, a biology major and member of the Student Government Association, said his reaction to seeing the plans and conceptual drawings was “Oh, my heavens!” and that he envied the students who would get to live there. As the SGA’s vice president for external affairs, Weaver said he’s had the opportunity to speak with members of the Board of Trustees and other groups about the new residence hall and the College’s housing needs.
“They like to hear the student voice when it comes to these kinds of projects,” he said. “Likewise, Dean Hayward Guenard and Kristen Cooper have kept the SGA executive board in the loop in this ongoing process, as we have given feedback about the project.”
According to Cooper, plans for the residence hall include lounges, skyboxes, a demonstration kitchen, classrooms, indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, a rooftop terrace, numerous balconies, and “nooks and crannies” for conversation and studying. The new residence hall also will house faculty offices, study spaces, and classrooms for the Westover Honors program, which becomes the Westover Honors College later this year.
“It will be a premiere living facility that will allow for students to have a certain level of privacy, but will also encourage connections within the community,” Cooper said. “Our goal is to develop and implement several living-and-learning communities throughout the building. These intentional, high-impact programs will connect students who have similar academic or co-curricular interest with a faculty or staff member with a similar interest.”
The new residence hall will be fully ADA-accessible and is designed with flexibility in mind, allowing for future changes, as necessary. “As we design this residence hall, we recognize we must meet the current demands of our student body, but also anticipate the needs and demands of students for decades to come,” Cooper said. “We have been intentional to ensure that spaces are accessible and fully flexible. This will allow the building to grow and morph to meet those future demands.”
The 14-month construction project will replace McWane Hall, which was built in 1966 and is situated alongside Shellenberger Field, between Freer and Shackelford halls. The yet-unnamed residence hall will provide suite-style living for about 270 students.