The University of Rhode Island’s Campus Planning and Design Department is moving forward with their plans of building a new dorm, an engineering quad and visitors center.
Construction for a new dorm, Brookside, will be starting next semester. Brookside will be an apartment style residence hall for only upperclassmen. The dorm will be available to live in starting, roughly, in 2019.
Brookside will be located on West Alumni Avenue in place of where the Dairy Barn Lot is now and across from Meade Stadium.
“This dorm serves as a transitional piece for upperclassmen when they get out of college and start their jobs living in a similar apartment,” said Director Christopher McMahan of Campus Planning and Design. “It gives seniors an alternative if they don’t want to live off campus.”
The design of the new dorm will be similar to Hillside Hall. It is two complex buildings and with a connector. The complex will accommodate 500 beds, split evenly between the two buildings. Each apartment can house up to four students. Each apartment will contain a living room, kitchen, four single bedrooms and multiple bathrooms.
“I think upperclassmen will definitely take the opportunity to live in a new dorm,” said sophomore Lily Parker. “I believe the reason why students move off campus is because they don’t want to reside in the slums.”
Brookside will also offer special features down on the main level floor, such as a student presentation center where students can work on group projects using a screen or use as entertainment. Lounges will also be put in place on each floor, again similar in design to Hillside Hall.
Unlike Hillside, however, Brookside will feature a coffee shop within in the building. If students want to brew their own coffee though, they can do so in a “teaching kitchen,” where students can to learn how to cook.
“We expect the learning kitchen to prepare foods farm to table style,” said McMahan. “Students will have the ability to grow food in the courtyard; the idea is to encourage our natural surroundings.”
The project is reclaiming green space as an amenity. Using the courtyard and the brook as much as possible is the goal.
McMahan believes that this dorm will be used not only during the academic year, but during the summers as well. “It serves as a conference center for President M. Dooly, or for meetings between different departments of the university,” said McMahan. Since URI will make use of this dorm in the summer, air conditioning will be provided to students also.
The name “Brookside” comes from the famous White Horn Brook that will run along the dormitory. McMahan added that a future bike path will run along White Horn Brook to the O’Neil State Bike Path.
The construction starting next semester will take away around 600 spaces in the Dairy Barn lot, however. After the construction, students will have about half of those spaces back. Parking Services and Campus Planning and Design are working together to map out a solution for where students can park during this time.
Construction will start Spring 2017 and will be complete by Spring of 2019.
URI’s up and coming Engineering quadrangle will be a key feature for engineering students to socialize, collaborate and study, according to McMahan.
“The quad is an important feature on campus,” McMahan said. “Engineering students will feel like they have a tight knit community now that their area of study is centralized.
The engineering quadrangle is 41,000 square feet. It will feature an exterior patio with seating and sidewalks. The quad, according to McMahan, will provide students with an area to converse with others, study and to get from class to class.
The quad will eventually be surrounded by the new engineering complex. Crawford, Gilbreth, Kelly, Kelly Annex and Wales Halls have all been demolished to make way for the complex.
Currently, the engineering complex is 25 percent through construction. Right now, builders are forming foundations and using a schematic design for the quad.
The next piece is mechanical and electrical work for the complex. Soon after, the sight of steel will be visible to students.
The engineering complex quadrangle will cost $125 million. “Funding for the quad comes from the private and public investments,” according to McMahan.
In addition to the quad, the second phase includes upgrades to Bliss Hall. Bliss Hall will gain a $25.5 million addition. Classrooms and labs will be added to the building for students to meet the caliber of engineering instruction.
During the process of construction, engineering classes are being held in Pastore hall and Schneider electric for student labs.
“I am really excited, but it will be completed when I’m a senior, so I wish I could have more time to enjoy it” said Max Viana a sophomore engineering major.
This is the largest construction project at the University of Rhode Island, and it is set for completion in the summer of 2019.
Also under way, the University of Rhode Island will be able to welcome prospective students at the new Visitors Center next summer.
What was left of the “hut” will soon be a 12,000-square foot building made for students and families to explore what URI has to offer. The welcome center will be the first place of contact for prospective students, where tours of the campus will eventually be leaving from.
McMahan described the building to have the same scale as other buildings on upper college road. For example, the URI Foundation Building, Alumni Center and the Gender and Sexuality Center.
“The building will have modern features like large windows, pitches roofs and extended doors,” McMahan said.
When students walk inside, they will find a lobby with an information desk. The lobby will lead off to the welcome room which displays information about the university, such as residential life, departments, areas of study and student life.
“When they make the hut a huge Visitor Center, it will be more inviting for students who come to URI” said sophomore Connor Hladick.
In addition, there will be two presentation rooms. The larger room that has 200 seats, while the other will only offer 50 seats. A conference room will be located in the back of the building for professors to meet with students or to conduct interviews.
Tours will be located out of the Visitors Center rather than the Memorial Union. The building will centralize all of the events for upcoming students.
Parking spots will be diminished when the final product is concluded. According to McMahan, about 45 or so spaces will be taken away after construction.
Planning for the new Visitors Center started four years ago. Construction started in June of 2017 and is expected to be done Summer of 2018.