Black Hills State University officially broke ground today on its new 50,000-square-foot Crow Peak Hall launching the construction process of the University’s first residence hall in 50 years.
BHSU faculty, staff, students, local and state officials, members of the Board of Regents, and members of the Spearfish community gathered outside Thomas Hall to celebrate the culmination of years of planning and designing.
“This truly transforms the living-learning environment for our students,” said 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, she said.
Crow Peak Hall will connect two existing halls with a central living area that will be the residential link of all three buildings. The connecting link is the living area of the complex which will include a two-story great room, residential kitchen for student use, fireplace, snack area, and multi-media study rooms.
The new 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.
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 complements and enhances the current residence halls. The estimated completion date for Crow Peak Hall is summer 2015. When completed, it will be the first new residence hall to be built on the BHSU campus in nearly 50 years. While BHSU constructed campus apartments in 1993, the newest residence hall is Heidepriem which was built in 1964.
“This is the culmination of 10 years of planning including extensive conversations with master campus planners, housing master planners, students and site visits to other campuses, “ said Dr. Lois Flagstad, vice president of Student Life. “Every detail is planned to provide a comfortable living environment to support students’ academic excellence.”
To make sure the new residence hall facilitates student success, the project’s planning committee involved BHSU students in nearly every detail.
“Crow Peak Hall serves as a prime example that BHSU really listens to their students,” said Chase Vogel, business administration – economics and finance major from Cheyenne, Wyo., and president of the Student Senate. “Students across campus played an integral role in planning the design and features of the building. Knowing that students today have a voice for students who will be here later, future Yellow Jackets and future graduates of the University, that really sits well with me and it sits well with the students I talk to.”
Vogel said that many people may believe that education only happens in the classroom; however, his experiences indicate huge growth takes place outside of the classroom as well.
“I see lifelong friendships take place every day and be made burning the midnight oil; I see inventions and businesses and ideas that emerge out of the invaluable social network that residence halls have.”
Dr. Jack Warner, executive director of the Board of Regents, said the University’s new residence hall will contribute to the success of students. “We will retain more students, make them more successful, and contribute to the quality of their living and learning experience on this campus.”
Jason Roberdeau from Williams and Associates, the architects for the project, said they designed Crow Peak Hall using the beauty of the surrounding Black Hills and incorporating lots of glass windows, and natural materials and colors. The design fulfills the project’s vision of creating a vibrant student community that celebrates the distinctiveness of the Black Hills, promotes academic success and elevates residential life on campus to a level that is admired by peer institutions,” he said.
The total cost of the project is $13.7 million - $11.3 for the building, $226,000 for parking and $2.1 million in infrastructure costs including electrical loop upgrade, ground work, outdoor seating area, walkways over the irrigation channel, and campus lighting. Funding for the project will come from room rentals of the students who live there. No state funds are being used.