Five shovels, three seconds and one plot of land marked the official groundbreaking moment for the rising Residential Village, projected to be completed in July next year.
On Nov. 9, the university officially declared the beginning of the new buildings’ construction and prepared to lay down the foundation in the already pre-plowed field located south of the Olson parking lot.
Ron Sutherland, supervisor of the project and special assistant to the president, said the university hopes to have students living in the townhomes by July so that student teachers and social work majors who are required to live in apartment lifestyles — who also typically have to arrive earlier on campus — can move in at that time.
The five townhomes that will be installed are expected to be the first out of what is a total of 12 potential buildings. This southeast corner of campus offers additional room for construction, allowing for further growth in the Residential Village.
“If we're blessed to continue to grow, you can add another building and have enough (room) for 30 (more residents),” Sutherland said. “Whereas when you build a residence hall, you have to build (for) 200 (residents). So you get the economies of scale.”
The function, size and cheap cost of building townhomes allow the university to increase housing incrementally to manage Taylor’s growth and to flexibly respond as needed. With the architectural process already established, adding to the Residential Village would only be a matter of construction since the design is already complete.
The university partnered with Design Collaborative, an architecture firm, and Michael Kinder & Sons, a construction firm, for the project, which will house a total of 156 students by its completion.
Some new structures will be implemented by Thanksgiving this year. The university is hopeful that they will have one to two of the buildings framed to continue construction throughout the winter, Skip Trudeau, vice president for student development and intercollegiate athletics as well as director of the master of arts in higher education program, said.
“By the time this project opens in the summer, this will have been a two-and-a-half year planning, dreaming, thinking and constructing process,” President Michael Lindsay said during the groundbreaking ceremony. “This particular space — the residential village — has been designed with specific care for what our students have asked for.”
Community and the opportunity to participate in a more adult-like experience as well as the ability to encounter the newest amenities on campus were amongst the features Lindsay listed.
Julia Hurlow, associate vice president for student development and director of residence life, emphasized the key role that housing plays in a student’s ability to thrive at Taylor.
“Our belief is that when our students have the opportunity to live in proximity with one another, a sense of belonging can be experienced,” Hurlow said during the ceremony. “Our hope is that each of these houses will become home for our students who live here (and) that authentic community will be formed and that they will become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.”
Approval to live in the Residential Village will have the same process as on-campus apartments and will be determined based on the average credit hours of each applicant group. All returning students are eligible to apply.