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New BHSU residence hall will provide community living and learning environment

 
 An aerial diagram of the location of the new residence hall.
 
 An artist's rendering of the exterior of the new BHSU residence hall.
Plans are moving forward on a new, state-of-the-art residence hall for Black Hills State University which connects two existing halls and provides for a vibrant community setting for students.

The new hall is estimated to break ground in early summer of 2014 with a completion date of summer 2015. When completed, the residence hall will be the first new hall built in nearly 50 years.

The nearly 50,000-square-foot new residence hall will connect two existing halls with a central living area that will be the resident life hub for all three buildings. The connecting link is the living room of the complex which will include a two-story great room, residential kitchen for student use, fireplace, a snack area and multi-media study rooms.

“This new addition to campus will greatly enhance the living/learning environment at BHSU by connecting Thomas and Heidepriem halls and creating a residence life complex that will be the focal point for our on-campus students,” says BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp. “The new complex will be a unique vibrant student community that celebrates the distinctiveness of the Black Hills and promotes academic success.”

The next step is choosing a name for the new hall. BHSU is seeking naming suggestions for the new hall and the housing complex from alumni, students, faculty, and community members. Please visit http://www.bhsu.edu/hallname to make your recommendations.

Philanthropic building naming opportunities are also available for significant monetary donations (more than $500,000.) If you or someone you know is interested in creating a lasting legacy please contact Steve Meeker, vice president for university advancement, at 642-6385.

The new residence hall will increase the options students have regarding design of their residence life, according to Dr. Mike Isaacson, BHSU dean of students. “There will be so much variety and choice for the students from the type of room, number of roommates and price.”

John Geske, associate director of residence life at BHSU, said the new hall will provide the opportunity to better meet the needs of the students, the University and the community.

The planning process for the residence hall involved the entire campus with an emphasis on student input, according to Dr. Lois Flagstad, BHSU vice president of student life.“First and foremost we’ve involved students in helping us think through the location, amenities.” 

As a part of the planning process, Flagstad and her staff conducted focus groups, placed photo boards in the union asking students the top three things they would like in a new residence hall, and incorporated ideas from a GS 100 class who met with the architect and designed their dream residence hall.

 After much discussion, the final residence hall will include three stories with 12, four-person suites on each floor. The suites include two rooms with a shared bathroom. In addition to the central living area, there will be two small commons areas on each of the four floors.

Isaacson added the new hall will be something the students can take pride in, not only in the residence life but in the University.

Planning for the new residence hall began when BHSU started developing renovation options for all the current residence halls. After reviewing options and costs, it was determined that it would be best to build a new hall that compliments and enhances the current residence halls, Flagstad said.

Funding for the $11 million residence hall will come from the room rentals of the students who live there, Isaacson said noting there are no tax dollars involved.

While BHSU constructed campus apartments in 1993, the newest hall is Heidepriem which was built in 1964. The planned residence hall will replace Pangburn Hall, built in 1952, and Humbert Hall, built in 1958.

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