Work to begin on two new residence halls

Construction of two new suite-style residence halls east of the Robert Knoll Residence Center will begin in December.
Construction of two new suite-style residence halls east of the Robert Knoll Residence Center will begin in December.

Construction of a new, suite-style housing complex at UNL will begin at the end of this semester. Sited on the block of 18th, 19th and R streets immediately east of the new Robert E. Knoll Residential Center, the two-building student residence complex will add 1,034 beds. One building will open for occupancy in August 2013 and the other in August 2014.

Suite-style and apartment-style housing is in demand among university students, and the new facilities will provide updated, modern, energy-efficient and convenient housing that will meet UNL students’ expectations, according to UNL Housing Director Sue Gildersleeve.

The $71 million project will be entirely paid for by student housing revenue.

“Students desire a homelike, comfortable environment that offers them privacy and convenience,” Gildersleeve said. “The suite-style Robert E. Knoll Residential Center, which opened in August 2010, has been overwhelmingly popular among both new and returning residents.”

The two new halls will connect to the Knoll facility by enclosed links and will share a central service desk and other amenities in the center building. UNL’s suite-style facilities offer a combination of two-and four-bedroom suites housing four students. The suites include a shared living room, snack-prep area and bathroom.

The complex is a replacement for the aging Cather and Pound residence halls, which were originally slated for renovation. An in-depth study of the 50-year-old buildings showed renovation was not cost-effective. Five other high-rise facilities have been fully renovated, as well as three of the four City Campus dining centers.

In addition to the Knoll Residential Center, other recent new construction includes two apartment-style halls, The Courtyards and The Village, which opened in 2004 and 2005 respectively, and house 1,000 students. Other new construction includes the Esther L. Kauffman Residential Center, home of the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management, which opened in 2000.

A warehouse-like facility at 1820 R that previously was used for mail distribution has been razed to make way for the project.

Gildersleeve said Sampson Construction, the lead contractor, will begin site work at the end of the fall semester.

Beginning Dec. 18, the resident parking east of Knoll Hall, faculty/staff parking at 1820 R St. is permanently closing for construction. Resident and commuter parking for the spring semester will be relocated to the lots north of the construction site, and across 19th Street, south of Beadle Center.

Additional resident and commuter parking is available at the 19th and Vine garage east of Abel/Sandoz. The faculty and staff parking at 1820 R Street will be relocated to the surface lot east of the 17th and R parking garage.

No time frame has been set yet on demolition of Cather or Pound halls, which will remain open for the 2012-13 academic year, Gildersleeve said.

One of the two halls will remain open for the 2013-14 academic year, until the second new hall is ready for occupancy.

— Kelly Bartling, University Communications