Feb 062003
Authors: Adrienne Hoenig

CSU officials plan to present plans for a new residence hall to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education today.

The new hall will be built suite-style, with two adjoining rooms sharing one bathroom. It will have 700 beds, or 175 suites. It will not have a dining hall, but it will have air conditioning.

If approved, groundbreaking will probably commence in late spring, said Jim Dolak, executive director for Housing and Food Services at CSU.

“This has been a three-year planning process,” Dolak said. “The staff recommendation (from CCHE) is to go ahead and approve it.”

CSU first submitted the building plans to CCHE for approval in August 2001, said CCHE Spokesperson Joan Ringel. However, CCHE asked that CSU look into privatizing the designing, building, owning and operating of the new hall.

CSU was hesitant to privatize the project.

“We couldn’t find many privatized buildings on main campuses,” Dolak said. “The privatized model is really for apartments.”

Ringel said the first request for information they gave CSU came back “woefully inadequate.”

“In some ways, the reason it took so long is because from the commission’s point of view, CSU was reluctant to do their homework,” Ringel said. However, after a couple of tries, CSU and CCHE came to a compromise that will save students money.

The designing and building of the new hall is to be done by a private company. The residence hall will be owned by CSU and will operate with existing residence hall staff. In short, it will function just like all current residence halls do.

“It turns out that privatizing the building saves $2.4 million,” Ringel said.

Retaining owning and operating responsibilities will also save $800 per student per year, Dolak said. Much of the money saved would be in the hiring and training of new staff. Whereas a private company would have to start from scratch, CSU already has all the necessary resources.

“We would use our existing staff,” Dolak said. “We wouldn’t have to hire anyone new.”

The new hall will be located on Pitkin Street where the Ropes Course currently resides. The Ropes Course will be relocated on Center Avenue, south of the Holiday Inn.

Gerry Bomotti, vice president for Administrative Services at CSU, said that the university has a large need for new residence halls. With the current halls, there are 4,500 spaces available in the residence halls. Since CSU requires incoming freshmen to stay in the halls, these spaces fill quickly.

“We have almost 4,000 new freshmen coming in each semester,” Bomotti said. “We don’t have much room left. We basically have to kick people out.”

Many residence halls are also in dire need of restoration, Bomotti said.

“The last residence hall we built was in 1967,” he said. “We would like to start renovating some of the old residence halls on campus.”

Jackie Sheppard, sophomore technical journalism major, agrees.

“They’re falling apart,” Sheppard said. “They should be more modern.”

Officials plan to renovate the existing halls one wing at a time by moving students living there into the new hall.

“This is really the start of our student housing master plan,” Bomotti said. “It will probably go on for a decade.”

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