Construction on a new residence hall to replace the recently demolished Gardner Hall has begun and is expected to be complete by fall 2023.
The new dorm – for now being called New Residence Hall Two – has been planned since the summer of 2019, and the design was mostly finished in March 2021. Focus groups were conducted after Bullock Hall was opened to gather knowledge of what could be improved in the new residence hall. Some of the differences between New Residence Hall Two and Bullock include a large classroom and a faculty and resident apartment.
“I think that our goal to be able to incorporate more of the academic experience within the place where students live is something that we see a lot of value in,” said Shannon Kaczmarek, dean of community living and wellness. “We’re eager to have a facility that makes that make a lot of sense.”
The new hall will have a similar concept to Bullock, featuring a large community space, spacious lobbies, study rooms, kitchen, game and media rooms and a courtyard on the north side of the facility. It is being funded through donors and long-term financing through banks. The rest of the new residence halls will be funded the same way. Kevin Campbell, senior vice president for operations, is a part of the committee building the Freshman Village.
“While ACU has many beautiful facilities, some of our residence halls needed some additional attention,” Campbell said. “We created a concept of the Freshmen Village which would be a collection of four residence halls on the southern edge of campus, housing all freshmen together. Bullock Hall and New Residence Hall Two are the first two projects toward this vision.”
Gardner was 60 years old when it was demolished. Sikes Hall and Nelson Hall, two other women’s dorms, will be renovated, and Sewell Auditorium will be converted into a gathering space for students. All of this will be a part of the Freshman Village, set to be done by 2030. Kaczmarek said she and several other university representatives went on a benchmarking tour a couple years ago to several universities that had recently built new residence halls to get an idea of what ACU could do.
“The intention is to provide excellent care for our students both relationally and through the housing we provide,” Kaczmarek said. “This is a huge step forward for us. We’re excited to see both men and women living under the same roof in closer community and connection with one another. We’ve seen a lot of success in that through Bullock this year, and we want their feedback. We welcome it.”