Thursday morning, UAB broke ground on its newest student housing development, Residence Hall 2020. The new building will mirror New Freshman Residence Hall (NFRH) and help meet the increased demand for on-campus housing.
Building plans allow for more than 730 students to join the 2,880 already housed in UAB’s six other residence halls, and the new structure will house dedicated study spaces, a storm shelter, multi-use office space and a dining venue with three food vendors and a 250-person seating capacity. The project is expected to completed in the next two years.
“Our undergraduate enrollment continues to grow, and the next phase of on-campus development and growth is ready to begin,” John Jones, Ph.D., vice president of Student Affairs, told UAB News. “Providing a residential component where students live together on campus creates communities across undergraduate academic disciplines and fuels our collegial and creative environment and further enhances the overall student experience at UAB.
The 231,000-square-foot U-shaped building will be built near the Campus Green on the south half of the block bordered by Ninth and 10th avenues south and 16th and 17th streets where Smolian International House, the Sorority Square Building and Lot 15J now sit. The UAB Transportation five-year comprehensive parking plan will help address the demand of fewer spaces and additional residences; central to the plan are strategies to manage demand and improve parking supply, enhance transit services and encourage pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
“This is truly a win for our students. This new hall will enable us to serve, engage and retain more students than ever before.”
The residence hall will be UAB’s second Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified (LEED) building — the first is the new College of Arts and Sciences Building, slated to open in 2019 — and the first to earn a LEED Silver ranking. LEED provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings, and LEED certification ensures electricity cost savings, lower carbon emissions and healthier environments for the places people live, work, learn and play. There are four rating levels for LEED: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
“This is truly a win for our students,” said Marc Booker, executive director of Housing and Dining. “The residence halls play an integral role of providing transformational experiences for UAB undergraduate students as they pursue academic success and prepare for life beyond the campus. This new hall will enable us to serve, engage and retain more students than ever before.”