Construction workers are expected to start pouring concrete next week for the new 31,000 square foot freshman residence hall at the University of Alaska Southeast. The new student housing will be located near Auke Lake, across from the Noyes Pavilion. The $14 million project is funded with $8 million from the Legislature. Proceeds from the eventual sale of the Bill Ray Center will also go toward the project, Chancellor John Pugh said.
The residence hall will be completed in two phases. The building will be two four-story dormitories connected by a commons area. The first phase of construction, which should be finished by July 2014, will complete one side of the dormitory and the commons area. The second phase will complete the other side of the dormitory and should be finished by late November 2014.
The addition of 120 beds allows UAS to repurpose the current 84-bed freshman hall, Pugh said.
“This will give us an opportunity to reprogram those beds for our sophomores and juniors or maybe use the space for some kind of special programming or educational opportunities,” Pugh said.
Creating more student housing is part of a long-term plan to recruit a more diverse student body. Pugh said some students who would otherwise want to move to Southeast to study marine biology or environmental science might not enroll at UAS because of Juneau’s housing situation
“Subsidized housing will allow us to retain full-time students here in Juneau,” Pugh said. “It’s a game-changer in that way.”
Pugh said there’s a tendency for students to move on to larger University of Alaska campuses in Fairbanks and Anchorage. He hopes expanding housing at UAS will stem that trend. He said UAS also hopes to get funding next year for a student success coordinator who would help students new to Juneau make connections in the community and adapt to college life.
• Contact reporter Jennifer Canfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.