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New, renovated dorms near completion


The Mid-Campus/Defoe-Graham Project construction site, south of the former Rothwell Gymnasium  includes the construction of three new residence halls and the redesign of Defoe and Graham halls. Both buildings will be completely renovated. Photo by Clay McGlalaughlin

By the time most MU residence halls had been built in the 1960s, incoming students could count the number of appliances they brought from home on one hand — a radio, a desk lamp and maybe a record player. Today, most freshmen bring enough electrical accessories to occupy a dozen outlets.

Enhanced wiring is just one of the considerations that went into designing the new Mid-Campus/Defoe-Graham Project residence halls, which are set to open in fall 2009.

Located south of the Student Recreation Complex, the project includes three new buildings, a renovation of Defoe and Graham halls, and an addition that linksthe two renovated buildings. It’s part of a five-phase Residential Life Master Plan (RLMP) that by 2017 could net about 900 additional beds. But Frankie Minor, director of the Department of Residential Life, says the building project is not solely a response to growing enrollment.

“Our newest facility prior to starting [RLMP] was built in 1967,” Minor says. “Our oldest goes back to 1939.”

The $58.5 million project is funded mostly from the sale of revenue bonds that are repaid over time with money generated by student room fees. Upgrades include plumbing, wireless Internet, electric locks, fire alarms, sprinkler systems and security cameras. Because of the popularity of cell phones, land lines are no longer provided.

Originally, the new buildings were designed to feature either suite-style rooms or self-contained rooms with bathrooms and living areas. The renovated buildings would offer bedrooms with community bathrooms. But suite residents of the recently completed dorms on Virginia Avenue felt a sense of community was missing. Now the new buildings will blend the two styles, suite and traditional.

“The quality of residence halls, student unions, dining and recreation facilities plays an increasingly important role in students’ college choice,” Minor says. “The RLMP and other campus renovation projects are helping provide MU students the quality of facilities they want and deserve.”