UAB approaches new milestones in residence hall, student center construction

Campus enhancements taking shape as construction progresses for new facilities and outdoor spaces.
Written by: Katherine Shonesy
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Two major construction projects at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are nearing completion, giving the campus an updated look for the upcoming fall 2015 semester.

The new residence hall and Hill Student Center will accommodate growing enrollment and the desire to better serve students and the UAB community.

“Tremendous progress has been made on each of these new facilities on campus,” said Carolyn Farley, UAB’s assistant vice president for Student Services. “It’s exciting to see the buildings take shape, and to feel the enthusiasm on campus build as we get closer and closer to their completion.”

The new Freshman Residence Hall, scheduled to open for the fall 2015 semester, will help meet increased demand for on-campus housing, which has been filled to capacity for the last four years. The proposed plans will allow more than 700 students to join the 2,180 students housed in UAB’s five other residence halls.

watts tour2President Ray Watts and other members of UAB's administration tour construction sites for the new residence hall and Hill Student Center.Surrounded by two newly created Campus Green spaces, the 221,804-gross-square-foot-residence hall is being built near the existing Campus Green on property owned by UAB — the north half of the block bordered by Ninth and 10th avenues South and 16th and 17th streets.

The U-shaped building will consist of an eight-story tower and a four-story wing that will contain community program spaces and the Student Housing and Residence Life offices in addition to housing for incoming freshmen.

A courtyard space behind the building is being created to enhance leisure and recreational options for residents. In addition, the Ninth Avenue Promenade project will revamp what used to be Ninth Avenue South between 16th and 17th streets South for a parklike setting, complete with landscaping and outdoor seating.

The new residence hall will be the first on campus to be universally designed, which will provide its residents and visitors with an environment that is equally accessible and adaptable to all users of the building.

The new Hill Student Center will provide space for student activities, gatherings and services, including the Campus Tour Center.

The Hill Student Center will provide 162,256 gross square feet of meeting, conference and auditorium space; student organization spaces; upgraded dining facilities, including Full Moon Bar-B-Que, Panera Bread, Mein Bowl and Starbucks; a two-story bookstore; retail space; and the One Stop Student Service center for admissions, course registration, student accounting, parking, financial aid and student ID functions.

dining hall in student centerDining space in the new Hill Student Center

Outdoor space will be a focus of the new student center as well. An extension to the Campus Green will greet students and visitors just outside the center, with an outdoor amphitheater built in for events and concerts to take place. The third floor of the center will feature an outdoor patio space that flows out from the lounge adjacent to the indoor multipurpose event space, which will be able to seat up to 500 people for a banquet.

Other offices slated to return to the Hill Student Center include: Career and Professional Development, Student Media, Student Engagement, and other student organizations including Greek Life and TRIO Academic Services, among others. The new Hill Student Center also will house several lounge spaces to include a gaming lounge as well as common gathering spaces for networking, studying and relaxing throughout the building.

The new center is replacing the former Hill University Center at the corner of University Boulevard and 14th Street and is expected to be complete in late fall of 2015.