WILLISTON, N.D. - Williston State College invites the public to ground-breaking ceremony for its new residence hall at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26, in the main parking lot of the campus. The ceremony will be followed by refreshments in the Teton Grill, where the architect's photos of the finished building will be on display.
Williston State College received authority from the North Dakota State Legislature to secure revenue bond funding in the amount of $9,375,000 for the construction of the new residence hall, which will allow the college to offer a modern, attractive facility to those students wishing to live on campus.
"This facility will dramatically enhance enrollment efforts in the face of an incredibly strong economy in the region," stated WSC President Dr. Raymond Nadolny. "Today's student expectations regarding housing are much greater than the previous decade. Approximately half the college housing is provided by a 40-year old structure built inexpensively during lean fiscal times. Off-campus housing traditionally available to WSC students has increased significantly in price and is difficult to secure. Consequently, if Williston State College is going to continue to provide training for the next generation of employees, it will have to be done with new housing available on campus."
The need for additional and improved housing is also seen in the numbers. According to information from WSC Administration Department, the college is currently at 100 percent capacity in its system, with a waiting list. This is true, even though existing rooms are of lesser quality than that of the planned residence hall.
Of the college's current full-time students, only about 30 percent currently live on campus. College officials report strong and consistent demand from off-campus students for on-campus housing, demand that WSC has heretofore been unable to meet because of limited capacity.
While the start of construction has been delayed by various unforeseen events, "we have been assured by the architects and it looks like this will be a 14-month project," said Terry Olson, Executive Director of the WSC Foundation, which has been involved with the project by providing the backing in securing the revenue bonds. "We're hoping to get some use of the building in the fall of 2011." Once the new building is completed, the current residence hall, Dickson Hall, will no longer be used to house students.
Completion of the facility will be aided by a commitment of a gift to be used "to make the conference (multi-purpose) room a nice, useable, esthetically pleasing room for college use and hopefully it will be available to the community as well," Olson added.
The building will consist of 171 new beds in suite-style rooms. This will be an increase of 113 beds over what is currently available on the WSC campus. The new building will have a keyless, electronic entry system, along with an electronic security system which, according to Nadolny, will be provide the ability to monitor the hallways as well as having exterior door surveillance.
"The proposed residence hall will allow us to bring our traditional aged student body into a modern attractive facility, dramatically enhancing our enrollment efforts in the face of dwindling population and an incredibly strong economy in our region," he said. "Bringing traditional age students together in a new building will also allow us to offer apartment style living space currently existing on our campus at affordable rates to nontraditional age students and families coming back to school to enhance their work skills.
"Residence halls are no longer just a place to sleep. I think that they are increasingly becoming social spaces for students and this will provide added opportunities for students to connect in the residence hall not only as a place to sleep, but also as a learning environment and a place to meet and make friends, and enhance their college experience through all that."