The landscape of the Centre College campus has expanded with the opening of the new Northside Residence Hall. Still a work-in-progress, the new residential space—its design completely inspired by input from Centre students—is now nearly full, providing an additional 176 beds for the College’s growing campus community.
Northside’s rooms are large, double rooms arranged in suites, super-suites or pods, offering individual gender-neutral restrooms. The energy-efficient building also features study rooms, kitchens, lounge space, laundry facilities, social space, and low loft-style furnishings, among other amenities. When fully complete, it will offer an outdoor social and study space.
The hall also accommodates five student resident assistants and one student residence director, in addition to an apartment for a staff member.
Brian Daniel, director of residence life, said what he appreciated most about the process of building the Northside Residence Hall was the collaboration.
“This building was designed with the help of our students. In the beginning of this process, our students shared what they hoped for in a new residential space. As a result, we have worked to provide the amenities they wished to see. Much of the design of this building was a direct result of the feedback we received from our students.”
According to Ann Young, director of student life and housing, students wanted smaller study rooms and spaces where smaller groups could collaborate. The College has provided this space within the large suites and in common areas on each floor.
“Centre is constantly upgrading our residence halls, sometimes, however, new gutters, downspouts and boilers must be replaced, but are not noticeable to students,” Young said. “With Northside, we are able to provide a residential experience that is brand new, fully accessible, with large, modern rooms, kitchens, kitchenettes, study space and plenty of opportunity for social and educational opportunities.”
Daniel said the building allows for students to live together in a shared space.
“Our hope is that they will build community with one another in the various suites in which they live,” he concluded. “It is our sincerest hope that with any residential space we create, our students will be able to live, learn and grow together.”
Centre’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Hutzley said collaboration extended to using as many local, regional and state suppliers and partners as possible.
He explained that when meetings were held with the construction management firm, Centre officials wanted to make sure local firms had the opportunity to compete with national businesses vying for subcontracts for the project.
“There are a lot of reasons we wanted to keep it local,” Hutzley said. It’s something the College has done with previous construction projects, too. Centre’s facilities and procurement staff have good relationships with businesses they’ve worked with in the past.
“Centre does not have to go with the low bid. A lot of these are companies and firms we’ve worked with before, and there’s a reason. We want to make sure that they get a chance at it, because they’ve been good to us,” Hutzley said.
He added that Centre also wanted to have local contractors because, “What happens if there’s a problem a year from now? We have good partnerships with a lot of these companies, because they’ll come back and fix stuff if something wasn’t right. You’re not going to get that from someone out of Cincinnati or St. Louis or Chicago. These firms are competitive, but these local firms offer a lot, too.”
In order for some local businesses to compete, Hutzley said he worked to negotiate bids so that they consisted of the same quality and quantity of materials. “I made sure it was apples to apples bidding.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
September 19, 2019