Marquette University is adding two additional floors to its residence hall project, which will add 140 beds to the facility’s west tower and increase the project cost by $12 million.
[caption id="attachment_152342" align="alignright" width="442"] A rendering of the planned dormitory at the corner of North 17th Street and West Wells St.[/caption]
The change will allow the university to eventually close O’Donnell Hall, 725 N. 18th St., one of the campus’s oldest residence halls, which opened in 1950.
“We have no immediate plans to raze O’Donnell, so we still have the flexibility to reopen it should enrollment exceed capacity,” said Lora Strigens, vice president for planning and strategy.
McCormick Hall, 1530 W. Wisconsin Ave. will also be razed when the new dorm is completed in August 2018. That site will be used for a new recreation and wellness center.
The 890-bed, $108 million dorm will be located on the northwest end of campus, south of Wells Street between 17th and 18th streets. It will feature two towers that connect underground.
“We examined the occupancy rates of our existing housing stock and our enrollment projections over the next few years, and we determined that the most cost-effective and timely way for us to add needed beds, as identified in our master plan, was to add two floors to this project,” Strigens said.
In January, the university received a $10 million challenge gift from alumni Ray and Kay Eckstein toward the construction of the hall. Once $10 million is raised, the Eckstein’s will make the donation.
Strigens added that the university’s master plan effort looked carefully at the condition of campus buildings and the cost of operating and maintaining each.
“As buildings like McCormick and O’Donnell continue to age, they require significant ongoing investment to maintain and bring up to current codes,” she said. “At some point the cost of that maintenance no longer makes sense when compared to replacement.”