Everyone is invited to witness history Tuesday at noon when demolition begins on the Dixie/Rye residence halls. Residential Life has organized a demolition kick-off featuring TTU President Bob Bell and a randomly selected resident student bringing down the first wall. Officials are asking spectators to gather across the street on the Dixie Avenue side of Derryberry Hall.
Demolition on the complex, which has served the university since 1957, should be complete in about three weeks. Workers will then move on to the Meadows/Early residence hall wing. The plan is to complete the project within a 90-day window in order to prepare the ground for new residence halls.
If all goes as expected, the new halls should be open by fall 2003. The new complex, comprised of a glass atrium entrance flanked by three wings, will face 9th and Dixie.
With 354 bed spaces in a suite-style floor plan, the four-story residence complex features study rooms on each floor, as well as a fourth-floor multimedia room and library appropriate for presentations, lectures and even classes.
"The multimedia room ties into our new Freshman Learning/Living Program," says Residential Life Director Roger Dickson, "giving residential life on our campus a stronger link to academics.
"We know that students come here to school for the academics, but we want to be sure to tie academics in to the other part of students' experiences here."
In the meantime, there's demolition and construction to accomplish. Here's a timeline:
- Facilities and Residential Life are currently in the design phase of the buildings' interior finishes; a comprehensive plan will be complete by Feb. 1.
- Simultaneous reviews of the complex's projected design by the university, Tennessee Board of Regents, state fire marshall's office and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) consultants will take place in February.
- Construction bids will be sent out in early March.
- By mid-March, all four residence halls will be leveled and the site prepared for the new buildings.
- Construction bids will be opened in late March and the contract executed in April.
- By May 1, construction is expected to begin. The new buildings should be completed by June 2003, with occupancy scheduled for August.
"Any time there's new construction on campus, it's a rebirth," says Dickson. "It shows that the university has a real commitment to growth."