TTU wants it done right, delays new dorm opening

Tennessee Tech University's new residence hall, now in the late stages of its $13 million construction process, will not open as planned in time for students arriving this fall after all.

The university originally hoped to open at least two wings of the building, scheduled to house new freshmen, when classes start in August. Continuing weather, construction delays and some design problems early into the project have forced TTU to postpone the grand opening a couple of months.

"Several issues combined played havoc with our last phase of the project," said Roger Dickson, director of TTU's Residential LifeOffice. "Just a few weeks ago we were still hoping to finish on time. We knew the construction crews were running a bit behind, but they were hoping to have more dry days to catch up. Unfortunately, they did not have as many opportunities as we would have liked.

"The bottom line is, we don't want to sacrifice the quality our students deserve just to get it open by a certain deadline. Our students, our entire campus community, have waited a long time for this new building, and we want it right from the beginning."
Dickson also described some lingering completion issues that added to the delay.

"We saw some quality control issues we had to overcome. That's not meant as a criticism to the construction crew; we just had issues that needed to be corrected to better serve students in the long run. Once we could walk through the units, we saw that some changes needed to be made."

The state-of-the-art residence hall will feature double occupancy rooms with private baths, a multi-media room, a spacious grand lobby, three small study rooms, a large group study room, two social lounges, two elevators, life safety features and Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations.

Because the residence hall will house students 24 hours a day, seven days a week, its construction demands are much moreintense than other types of buildings. Many of the requirements to meet ADA and stringent fire codes add to the design and construction time.

All students, including those incoming freshmen assigned to the new building, will still have temporary housing in other residence halls on campus. Some upper classmen who expected private rooms will most likely be doubling-up with freshmen until the building is complete.

The extended construction time will not add any extra cost to the students.

"Despite the inconvenience, I think the students and university community will agree that the quality is worth the wait," Dickson said.

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