Work is steadily progressing on the new residence hall. According to Boyce Hamlet, physical plant director, sections of the building are now “under roof” and sheetrock installation has commenced.
“Every two weeks, we’ll have a section of roof put on and dried in, which means the shingles and the rubber roof and the windows in,” he said. “That way it’ll allow us to do our drywall finishing and everything from there.”
Hamlet added that tradesmen — mechanical, electrical, plumbing, sprinkler, fire alarm, and “a little bit of everything” — are inside. Soon, work will begin on the exterior door card access systems. Full power should be on in the building by the end of May.
Having the building ready for students on August 19 is still the plan. As Hamlet puts it, it’s the only option. “We’ve been in contact with the city,” he said. “We’re keeping our inspections going and talking about being ready … and if certain sections are not ready possibly about what we can do to ensure they’re ready. There’s no alternative, no spare space to put everybody, and the building’s already booked.”
In the meantime, Hamlet says they’re “praying for good weather.” Furniture has been ordered and scheduled for delivery. Several groups, including members of the Parents Council and Westover Honors faculty, have toured the building.
According to Kristen Cooper, director of housing and residence life, the new residence hall is almost full. “It was the most popular residence hall for students to select,” she said. “This does not include our houses, apartments, and townhouses. As of April 24, 2019, the new residence hall is at a 96.6% occupancy level based on official assignments.
“Based on the current assignments, students from the current first-year cohort (2018-2019) comprise 88.3% of all students assigned to the new residence hall. The gender breakdown for the new residence hall is 62.5% female students and 37.5% male students.”
The Office of Housing and Residence Life has invited all students assigned to the new residence hall to participate in upcoming tours of the building, which will be held in May.
In other residence hall news, the restrooms and plumbing at Tate Hall will be updated. “It’s similar to what we did last year for Montgomery,” Hamlet said, adding that a central laundry also will be added to Tate.
“The restrooms will be updated and more pleasant than a cinder block-looking facility and more practical for students with needs, and there will be a gender-inclusive restroom as well. Male and female and gender inclusive. A private bathroom for whoever needs it, whenever.”