The Grayson College Board of Trustees received a progress report on the construction of three new facilities, including its new $7 million residence hall, during a meeting Thursday afternoon. The new dorm is expected to be ready for students in time for the upcoming school year, which begins in August, officials said.
“There are a lot of moving parts, both literally and figuratively, with those projects,” Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen said, gesturing toward the construction taking place on the new Student Success Center just outside the board room window.
Last year, the college announced it would be moving forward with the construction of a 99-bed, three-story dorm building that would feature suites housing between one and four students. The dorms will be the first built since the construction of its Viking Hall dormitory.
With the addition of the new building, this will bring GC’s housing capacity to 185-200 beds, depending on the make up of residents.
Despite not being open yet, college officials said the new dormitory is already 82 percent booked for the upcoming school year, but some rooms could be released from commitment in the coming weeks. By comparison, Viking Hall is already booked 100 percent.
In a separate action, the board approved the creation of a naming committee to suggest a formal name for the new residence hall. McMillen said he did not have a formal time frame for when the name would be announced, but said it would come before the ribbon cutting of the facility early this fall.
As the residence hall project approaches its completion, the college is embarking on the construction of another new amenity on campus. As members of the board met Thursday, construction workers were busy mere feet away in placing the beams to the new student success center.
Previously, college officials said the new $5.96 million building, located near the administration building, would serve as a “one-stop shop” for students looking to enroll in the college and would flow into other buildings on the campus.
Additionally, the new facility will allow the college to relocate several offices and other services to better make use of space and location. McMillen said this would include some of the offices that are currently in the administration building. Currently, study rooms within the school’s library have been temporarily converted to offices. Other facilities, including the testing center and math hub, will also be relocated once the new building is in service.
Officials said it will be about a year before the building is read to be put into service. David Plyler, president of Plyler Construction, said the construction phase of the project will likely conclude sometime around June 2019. He added that he hopes to have the roof of the building in place before winter to allow construction to continue during inclement weather.
Despite some concerns of a possible delay, McMillen said the college will also be moving forward with the construction of a new enology and viticulture lab at its campus at North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field. Early on in development, it was discovered that the water pressure at the site wasn’t high enough to meet the facility’s needs — particularly the needs of a high-pressure fire suppression system.
In the past year, the city of Denison has discussed relocating and replacing the water tower at the airport to provide better pressure and service. However, McMillen said this project would be too far out to meet the college’s need.
With fears of significantly higher construction costs from the need to draw water from other sources, the construction was initially delayed. However, McMillen said the college learned this week that drawing water from the west will not significantly affect the final cost.
Officials said the project has been delayed about 18 days, but they expect the new facility will be complete sometime in November.