Sporting hard hats and shovels, contributors to Columbia College’s Academic and Residence Hall lined up and ceremonially broke ground for construction of the college’s first new residence hall in 50 years.
By fall of 2019, the new four-story facility will house a new business school on the ground floor as well as enough housing for 150 students on the top three floors.
The college hopes that the $20 million dollar project will be funded largely by new fundraising, with the remainder to be paid for by the school’s $175 million dollar endowment.
Columbia College president Scott Dalrymple said these contributions put the school in “a good position to invest in itself.”
This investment has been a long time coming. The school’s last residence hall was constructed in 1969 and the last building for the business school was built more than a century before that.
“We very much need a new space for business,” Dalrymple said. “The building that has the business department now was built in the 1840s. It’s a beautiful building, we honor it, but it’s probably not the best venue to learn modern business in. We just thought it was time for a fresh new space for the business department.”
Columbia College sophomore Kyle Rolfes said this project will simultaneously fulfill two of the college’s needs at once.
“I know there’s a lot of talk here on campus, especially within a lot of business students, about how great the college is for recognizing a need for a new residence hall and for a new business hall as well,” said Rolfes, who studies business. “I think it’s going to make a positive change on the community.”
Assistant director of public relations Sam Fleury said the project will benefit those students studying business, the college’s most popular program.
“The school of business being held in the first floor is a huge win for us because that’s our biggest sect of students,” Fleury said. “It continues to build on our campus environment.”
Dean of Student Affairs Dave Roberts hopes this project will help the school become more of a residential campus.
Roberts said expanding housing and giving more students the opportunity to live on campus is “exciting.”
Currently, 1,035 students attend Columbia College day classes; roughly one-third of those students live on campus.
The Academic and Residence Hall, like the school’s previous buildings, will continue to serve students for many more years, Roberts said.
“It’s a good thing for generations of students to come,” Roberts said. “When you take on a project like this, you think, how’s this gonna be 10, 20, 30 years from now? We feel like this building is really meeting a lot of those needs.”