LSU is getting ready to begin the third phase of a multiyear master plan to overhaul the campus’ residence halls.
In recent weeks, two greenhouses located near Miller Hall were demolished to make way for two five-story dorms that, when completed in the fall of 2021 at a cost of nearly $90 million, will each house some 400 freshmen beds.
Preliminary construction on the site should begin in the next week or two, with the structures going vertical sometime this fall, LSU Assistant Vice president for Residential Life Steve Waller says.
In the meantime, LSU is wrapping up the $87 million, second-phase of the master plan. Among the projects in that batch is the completion of the 409-bed Cedar Hall, next to Kirby Smith Hall, and will open this fall as a replacement for the eyesore high-rise, which dates back to the 1960s. Kirby Smith will be demolished in the spring of 2020.
Also in phase two is the renovation of Highland Hall, which is currently underway and will open to students in the fall of 2020, and the overhaul of Evangeline Hall, which was completed in late 2018.
The first phase of the master plan was the $235 million mixed-use Nicholson Gateway development, which opened last fall, and is located outside the south gates of the campus across from Tiger Stadium.
While the master plan was designed to update LSU’s housing stock, it was also done to facilitate a new requirement that all freshmen live on campus. The 2018-2019 school year was the first year the requirement was in effect and it went well, says Waller, who estimates 80% of all freshmen—or some 4,500—lived on campus. The other 20% were exempted from the requirement for one reason or another.
In 2019-2020, the number of freshmen living on campus is expected to grow to some 5,000—the university’s biggest ever—in part because of a large, incoming freshman class and also because new residence hall space is now available to accommodate them.
Will the parking be able to accommodate them as well?
For now, Waller says yes.
“In the interim, we’re going to create some new temporary parking lots on the greenhouse site itself while we’re building the new buildings,” he says. “For the future, the university is developing a long-term mobility plan.”