Campus Life

New dorm: to break ground in June

Beginning in June, Grace will break ground for a new dormitory between Cooley Science Center and Beta Hall.

The dorm will have two stories in the front and three stories in the back, with a walkout area in the back overlooking the Creation Center.

Similar to Kent and Indiana Hall, the dorm will have split wings with a total of 66 beds.

Based on housing needs in 2013, the dorm will be male, female, or split male and female between the two wings.

The project is slated to be finished by the fall of 2013 and should be open to the incoming class of 2013 as well as current students.

The location of the dorm will preserve the intramural fields, and Dr. Nate Bosch, professor of environmental biology was consulted about the environmental impact of the dorm.

The dorm features a large common room between both wings and community-style bathrooms. Six to seven rooms will share community-style bathrooms.

Part of the feature of the dorm will be nature inspired with a fireplace, and “warm-lodge” feel according to Aaron Crabtree, associate dean of students.

With the onslaught of deposits for the 2012-2013 school year, and housing nearly filled to capacity, administrators began in January to consider building a 160-bed dorm. However, Grace was unable to secure a nearly $7 million loan to finance the project.

Tom Dunn, the chief operations officer, cited the shift in the banks’ focus as well as the fact that the new dorm would not have been filled to capacity.

According to Dunn, the pendulum has swung from extremely aggressive to extremely conservative in borrowing money.

Administration decided to build a smaller dorm that would still fill the needs of campus with hopes to build a 160-bed dorm between Beta and Kent Hall in the future.

On March 30, the Grace College Board of Trustees voted on the measure to build the dorm as long as it met the requirement of costing less than $3 million.

Currently, the cost of the dorm is around $2.9 million according to Dr. Ronald Manahan. The money for the new dorm will come from student room fees, donors, and possibly fundraising projects.

Manahan stated in an interview on Tuesday that no fundraising projects have begun for the dorm, but that part of the money may come from an overall campus fundraising pool. “We don’t normally do fundraisers specifically for dorms,” said Manahan.

Dunn states that dorms naturally pay for themselves. “Most dorms fund themselves,” stated Dunn, “they are really nothing more than an apartment building.”

With a smaller dorm, the project should take less time than a large-scale operation. Ground breaking will take place in June and administrators hope to begin building by September. “We want to get it in the ground and covered by the time snow starts to fly,” said Dunn.

Emily Brenneman, senior resident director, Jim Swanson, the vice president of student affairs and academic services, Dunn, Crabtree and Dr. Manahan have been a part of the committee to build the new dorm.

As far as the name for the dorm, nothing has been decided yet. Crabtree said that if a donor steps forward, Grace has a policy for a certain amount before naming it after anyone.

Some dorms are named in honor of distinguished alumni such as Kent Hall, named after Dr. Homer Kent, Jr., one of the founding presidents of our school. Dr. Manahan said at this time nothing has been decided on a name and probably will not be for awhile.

Grace received approval from the Economic Development Commission (EDC) for the bonding and construction of the new dormitory with Key Financial, Inc., not to exceed $3 million.

On Tuesday, April 24, the the Winona Lake Town Council voted to approved the bond, for which the town has no financial obligation.

Design Collaborative, an architectural firm from Fort Wayne, Ind., is responsible for the design.

Grace partnered with DC in 2007 for construction of the Orthopaedic Capital Center. DC has designed dorms at Indiana Wesleyan, Bethel College, Go-shen College and Taylor University.

The project to build a new dorm began as early as 2007, when Crabtree surveyed resident assistants about dormitories and Crabtree, Dunn, Swanson, and Provost Dr. Katip, toured different campuses and dorms at similar colleges and universities in the region. However, the hope to build a new dorm did not reach fruition until early 2012.

Story by Octavia Lehman | Editor in Chief |