Future Grayson College students will soon have a new place to live.

The school officially broke ground on its new residence hall Wednesday. The new dormitory will be located at the back of the campus near the Culinary Arts Building and existing Viking Hall dormitory. The residence hall will be the first built since the construction of Viking Hall. Previously, dormitories were available on the west campus, which is located on the grounds of North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field, but those have been out of service for six years.

Board Chairman Ronnie Cole said he was 19 years old when Viking Hall was built.

“This is exciting times for Grayson College,” Cole said. “This is just the second of four building projects that we’re about to undergo. I’m extremely proud to be here today.”

The $7 million investment was funded without additional bonds. Strategically located, the building provides privacy for students and outdoor living space with a pond and walking trail. Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen said the groundbreaking was his third in five years.

“This is a very exciting day for me personally but also for the college,” McMillen said. “We’re so glad to see the turnout for the groundbreaking. This is an important phase in the life of the college. This new residence hall is very important for our college as we move forward. It’s been many decades since we’ve constructed a residence hall. This is an important thing for our college to bring back something that we had before and create some extra life here on our campus.”

Current Grayson College student and Viking Hall resident Mary Stulsas said the dormitory has provided her a fun and safe environment to learn and grow.

“The memories that have been created in the Viking Hall are ones I will treasure forever,” Stulsas said. “College is not only about bettering yourself as a student but finding yourself as a person and at Grayson College you can do that. Although I’m graduating in the spring with my associate’s of arts in theater, I do hope the new residence hall brings new students who get to experience new opportunities like I did.”

The dormitory will include a general lounge area as well as single occupancy, double occupancy and suite style rooms with a capacity of 99 beds. Adding the capacity of Viking Hall, the college will be able to house a total of 185 to 200 beds depending on the mix of male and female students.

McMillen explained the residence hall will help students to be more engaged and more likely to finish programs to graduate.

“When a student decides to move on your campus they are all in,” McMillen said. “It’s not as easy as ‘Well, I just won’t go to campus tomorrow.’ They become really involved and really connected. Every student that walks through our front door we want to have them complete. We believe this connects to that piece of our strategic plan in a very strong way because when a student lives on campus, they build strong connections that last well beyond their graduation.”