New dorm begins massive overhaul

Over the past year, architects, construction workers, movers and the entire Gannon University community have anticipated the completion of the campus’s newest residence hall – North Hall, which is located on Fourth Street between Finegan Hall and the Carneval Athletic Pavilion.

The five-floor, 101,317- square-foot building, which was built by Building Systems Inc., was given a budget of $17 million, according to Linda Wagner, vice president of finance and administration.

“We think we are going to come in slightly under that,” Wagner said. “We’re still finalizing landscaping and furniture costs.”

The building is the first residence hall constructed to house both freshmen and upperclassmen and has an occupancy of 293 residents, divided into 195 freshmen beds and 93 beds reserved for upperclassmen.

The chance to live in a brand-new residence hall drew in both incoming freshmen and seasoned upperclassmen, and according to Wagner, every bed space was filled at the time of due deposit.

Brendan Kirkwood, a freshman physician assistant major, said that Gannon’s effort in planning and building a new residence hall impressed him and influenced his decision to attend the university.

“It was nice to know that you were coming somewhere where there was new technology and a new place to live,” Kirkwood said.

“It just felt more welcoming.”

Wagner said that North Hall was the first of three buildings in the “master plan” to greatly improve Gannon’s campus in the next several years. The new residence hall would allow for more students to attend the university while Gannon could upgrade some of its older housing.

“We haven’t had new residence halls in a number of years,” Wagner said. “With the current market out there, students have high expectations.”

Wagner was clear that much planning went into the construction of North Hall, as several Gannon associates surveyed and visited other institutions to discover what could be incorporated into the new dorm.

According to Wagner, a prominent request within these residence hall surveys was single rooms, so all upperclassmen suites inside North Hall include single bedrooms with an added community space. Freshman suites, on the other hand, don’t contain single rooms.

“You want freshmen to connect with their roommates, get involved in other aspects of the university and make friends without being able to isolate themselves,” Wagner said.

Students are easily warming up to the new building, as North Hall offers a fitness area, first and second floor social lounges with fireplaces and even a convenience store.

DAN KUBACKI

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