By Emmanuel Freeman
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover says she is very pleased with the pace of construction of the new 700-bed ultra-modern residence hall that is scheduled to open in the fall.
The president toured the massive facility on the main campus on Feb. 3, accompanied by the project management team and senior administrative staff. She said not only is the project ahead of schedule, but she is also impressed by the cutting-edge technology and the types of amenities students will enjoy in the building.
“This is an exciting time for Tennessee State University and for our students coming in the fall,” Glover said. ‘They will be coming to a facility that is student centered, academically centered, and socially centered. It is just what the students need to study and excel. So, I am very appreciative of what I see today.”
TSU officials have said the new residence hall, estimated at $75.3 million, and the first new residence hall on the campus in nearly 25 years, is indicative of TSU’s growth and desire to create a better living and learning environment for students. It will house lower and upperclassmen in a mixed living community that offers multiple upscale living, dining, recreational and leisure concepts.
“I think that this new addition is really good for the campus,” said Travion Crutcher, a senior mechanical engineering major from Huntsville, Alabama, who is a student ambassador. “That will help a lot with recruitment, and when we are talking to students about coming to TSU.”
Aaliyah Doss, a sophomore agricultural sciences major from Chicago, agreed.
“I lived in Epps Hall my freshman year and now in Rudolph Hall. They are not bad, but they are outdated,” said Doss. “This new building will definitely give the campus a great look and make lots of students want to come to TSU.”
Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and associate vice president; Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for student affairs; George Herring, chief project manager; and Brent Dukhie, executive director of student housing and residence life, accompanied Dr. Glover on the recent tour.
“We are excited that we are on schedule to get this facility open and able to accommodate the students in ways that we have not been able to do in the past,” Johnson said. “This particular facility is designed to be a city or community for the students. The intent is for the students to be able to do almost everything they need to do without having to go across campus.”
Stevenson, who is also dean of students, lauded the progress of the project as well. “We started this five years ago by adding it to the campus strategic plan, and our partners on this have been amazing in working diligently to make sure we meet our target date,” he said. “We are excited about that, and what this space will mean for students as they experience campus life here at TSU.”
As for living arrangements, the new residence hall has a variety of room types for students and employees. Among them, four-bedroom suites with bathrooms, common areas, kitchenettes, as well as doubles, and pods with community bathrooms that are shared with select groups of individuals.
“The new residence facility is a mixture of spaces,” Johnson said. “When we initiated this project, one of the things we looked at was living spaces for traditional students and the non-traditional students. That brought us to the next question for our team to strategize around: How do you accommodate all those different groups? We also looked at being able to include space for camps and different programs should the need arise. So, having the building configured in a manner to accommodate those particular aspects was also important.”
Kathryn Crockett, district manager of Aramark, the food services provider, disclosed during an earlier tour that dining in the new building will include brands such as Firehouse Subs, Twisters Tacos, Bojangles, Bento Shushi, and Noddle Rice Bowl. Chick-fil-A, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks are currently on campus.
“We are thrilled to be here at TSU. We really enjoy taking care of this campus community and serving the students, faculty, and staff,” said Crockett. “We are really looking to round out our footprint here and continue the evolution of dining services on campus.”
Johnson added that existing concepts will be upgraded and modified to blend in with the new offerings.