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Purdue University to expand First Street Towers complex | Purdue News | Lafayette Online
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News | Purdue News

Purdue University to expand First Street Towers complex

First Street Towers

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University is moving forward on construction of a third upscale residence hall in the First Street Towers complex.

The move ensures that the new tower will be available for occupancy for the fall 2012 semester. Purdue also expects to save nearly $2 million dollars by putting the $20 million project to bid when contractors are vigorously competing for business in a slow construction industry.

Robert McMains, vice president for physical facilities, said that bids on other projects are coming in about 10 percent lower than expected making it an advantageous time to commit to the project.

“We don’t know when costs will be this low again, and they could go up quickly,” McMains said. “Also, moving forward now will allow us to have the new tower open in time for the beginning of the 2012 academic year.”

Bids are scheduled to be opened on June 17. McMains plans to recommend the award of the contract to the board of trustees in July and begin construction as early as August.

Currently, First Street Towers features 356 private rooms, each with a private bathroom; full climate control; free laundry facilities; weekly maid service; and with a family room at the center of each cluster of bedrooms. This common space is equipped with plasma TVs, custom furniture, dinette with coffee bar, and WiFi.

Private student rooms at the two existing towers were filled within two days after becoming available in 2009. Both towers will be filled for the upcoming academic year, as well.

First Street Towers has been featured in national media including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NBC’s Today show and CBS’s Early Show.

John Sautter, vice president for housing and food services, said his staff sought extensive student input when designing the complex. With Purdue freshman enrollment expected to increase this coming fall, the new tower coming on line in two years will provide these soon-to-be upperclassmen another on-campus option instead of moving off campus, thereby, increasing retention, he said.

“First Street Towers is a unique campus housing configuration, where upperclassmen can have their privacy and choose to be part of a small residence community while enjoying the benefits of living on campus, such as easy access to classes, well-maintained facilities and a secure environment,” Sautter said. “There are residential life programs oriented more toward upperclass students’ needs such as resume writing, practice job interviews, making banking and housing decisions beyond college, and how to search for a job — skills that upperclassman in particular find useful.”

During the 2009-10 academic year, room and board with a 12-meal weekly plan at First Street Towers cost $14,204. The 2010-11 rate for the same plan will cost $14,929.

The $52 million First Street Towers was Purdue’s first new residence hall built since Hillenbrand Hall opened in 1993. The first floor of the central building includes a community center consisting of a conference room, multipurpose room, recreation room, student club rooms, administrative offices and a post office.

The new residence hall helped replace rooms lost to renovations at Cary Quadrangle, the conversion of Young Hall into an office building and the razing of apartments at Purdue Village. The 174 new private rooms with private bathrooms increase the diversity of housing options available and provide students a move-up option in addition to suites and apartments.

Sautter expects University Residences to once again fill nearly all 12,000 beds it has available on campus. More than 43 percent of students this spring signed up to live another year on campus.

“The move-up option presented by First Street Towers will increase the number of students we retain on campus,” Sautter said. “Studies show that students who live on campus, close to social and academic support mechanisms, typically perform better in college.”

Purdue Residences is the largest on-campus housing system in the nation among universities at which students are not required to live on campus. About 30 percent of all Purdue students live on campus.

Purdue University Residences is entirely self-supporting and receives no tax or tuition dollars. More University Residences information is available online at http://www.housing.purdue.edu

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