Administration acknowledges student housing needs

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Dixie State University administration is aware that student housing is due for changes and plans are in the works for updates and add-ons. 

According to the document “DSU On-Campus Student Housing Plan,” enrollment has more than doubled over the past eight years and there are not enough beds to accommodate that many students. 

DSU President “Biff” Williams said new student housing is a huge priority. DSU is proposing to the legislature for approval to build a 400 bed resident hall, he said. He emphasized that new and more student housing will help identify DSU as a university. 

All but four beds have been rented at the on-campus student housing facilities, said Resident Life Director Seth Gubler. 

“We need new buildings,” he said.

Vice President of Administrative Services, Paul Morris, said the Utah State Building Board visited DSU on Aug. 21, to tour campus and learn of the facility needs.

“During the presentation, DSU administrators described the need for new on-campus housing to meet the need of a growing student body,” Morris said. “DSU administrators intend to seek [the] building board[’s] approval of the project later this fall and legislative approval during the upcoming legislative session.”

The new on-campus housing would be built in a three-phase project, Gubler said.

Morris said the initial planning for the proposed building, located west of the Nisson Towers, would include private bedrooms, two bathrooms for each unit, and a microwave and a refrigerator. There is a desire to include a sand volleyball pit, a basketball court, and a pool with future phases for the new on-campus housing. 

According to the “DSU On-Campus Housing Plan,” Shiloh Hall and the Nisson Towers would eventually be replaced. The current on-campus housing, which was built in the 1960s, is inadequate for the current demands of student housing. 

If DSU receives approval, designing and construction will take approximately two years, Morris said. 

Morris said the new building would be built to high standards with steel frames instead of wood. 

According to the “DSU On-Campus Student Housing Plan,” the construction cost estimates would be $20 million. The cost of $18 million would come from auxiliary services revenue bond and the $2 million from auxiliary services reserves and non-appropriated plant funds.       

“The main issue is funding [and] getting the financial resources so that we can build the building and keep the rent rates competitive,” Gubler said.

Morris and Gubler both emphasized that student support is key in getting new on-campus housing. 

“I think the students need to keep talking to staff and administration saying they want new housing, if that is indeed what they want,” Gubler said. “I know in my conversations with students who live here in the dorms … They would love new housing.”

He said on-campus student housing is convenient for students, especially freshmen. 

“It’s the connection to campus resources,” Gubler said. “On-campus housing includes a staff to help students navigate college life, especially freshman students. I think there is a little more personal care. They meet with students at least two times a semester to help students be successful. I think there is more of the traditional experience for students on campus.”