Eight months after breaking ground on its new residence hall, and about three months until its expected to be ready for students, Grayson College approved an increase to the dormitory’s price.
Grayson College’s board of trustees recently approved a $150,000 increase to the guaranteed maximum price for the school’s new residence hall. The increase raises the contract price with Plyler Construction to $6.6 million, though the total cost to the school after design work, landscaping and fixtures will likely be around $7.4 million.
“Due to weather and other delays, we are investing a little bit more to make sure construction is completed on time for our students who are excited to move into the new dormitory in August,” Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen said via email. “The total cost of the project may end up being a wash. While we adjusted the GMP by $150,000, we also decreased the allocation that we had for furniture by $100,000. There is also a chance we won’t need that additional $50,000. We are just trying to be safe in case there are additional weather-related issues or something arises that creates a challenge.”
School officials broke ground for the new dormitory in September at the back of the campus near the Culinary Arts Building and the Viking Hall dormitory. Up until about six years ago, Grayson College had dormitories available on its west campus on the grounds of North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field. The new residence hall will be the first built since those were taken out of service. The dormitory will have a 99-resident capacity and is slated to be available to all Grayson College students who wish to live on campus beginning in August.
“We are very excited about our new residence hall,” McMillen said. “You can continue to see the progress. We have students signing up every day. We still have opportunities for our Pep Band, Cheer Squad and Athletic Training students who want to live on campus.”
Those programs — Pep Band, Cheer Squad and Athletic Training — were added to the college earlier this year with the return of the men’s and women’s basketball programs. Students selected for the three new programs will be awarded a room in Viking Hall as well as a $500 annual scholarship, school officials said. The students will still be responsible for paying for their meal plan, books and remaining tuition and fees. Students will have the option to upgrade to a room in the new residence hall at an additional cost.
In addition to the new dormitory, Grayson College also has its new Student Success Center and viticulture laboratory under construction. The school’s board announced a delay in building progress on the dormitory and Student Success building in late February because of inclement weather, however the dormitory is still expected to be ready for students in August. The Student Success Center was delayed to an expected completion date of January 2019, while the viticulture laboratory is expected to be complete in October.
The dormitory’s guaranteed maximum budget was initially approved in September at $7.3 million after the board made adjustments to the original proposal to help lower costs. Aspects of the foundation and exterior of the building were changed, and an elevator was eliminated as it was determined the building could function with just one.
At the time, McMillen explained the adjustments were not substantial enough “to affect the student experience or the longevity of the building.”
“They were just choices that we could make and by doing that we could shave off quite a bit of money for the project,” McMillen said.
He also explained funding for the project is coming from money the college saved as “good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
“We want a high quality product that’s going to last a long time because that helps contribute to that,” McMillen said. “Sometimes initial investments lead to long-term savings. But at the same time, you don’t want the early investment to be so much that you can’t accomplish other things that you want to accomplish.”
McMillen said the original idea for the new dormitory came about when TAPS Public Transit stopped operating a line to the campus.
“Students said that they would love to have somewhere on campus to live,” McMillen said last year. “It will add campus life and it will make it more exciting when there are more students on campus for a longer period of time. Student groups enhance the lives of not only students that live in the dorm but also students who go home after class because they will have more things that they can do when they come on campus. So, we’re already a great campus but this will take it to another level.”