Addition approved for South Fork Suites
April 12, 2007
The George R. Field South Fork Suites will be receiving an addition only a few years after the original building was constructed. The building was originally designed with thoughts of adding onto the original building.
Each suite now consists of a joint living space, a kitchenette and a bathroom. There are separate kitchen areas with ranges on either wing of each level. There are also two laundry facilities on each level.
The plan to add onto South Fork Suites went to the state commissioning board and passed March 19. The project will now go to the Joint Finance Committee for consideration.
The Suites will be able to hold approximately 480 students once the expansion is complete; the building is currently able to house 240 students. There have also been thoughts involved in making single-occupancy rooms such as the ones in the residence halls, and also making rooms available to visiting staff members or staff members who would like to have the option of living there.
The addition to the Suites will cost the University $14,586,000. This will include the building plans and additional parking for occupants of the new rooms.There will be about 120 parking spaces added to O
Lot. Along with adding parking spots to the lot, the tennis courts will be demolished to make room for the addition. The project would add a 32-unit wing to the north and a 28-unit wing to the west.
Director of Residence Life Terry Willson is taking part in the planning process for the building. Kristie Feist, the area coordinator for the Suites is also helping with the planning.
Willson said there is still a lot to be done before the addition can commence.
“They still have a long way to go before we can start the building,” Willson said. “There are so many steps to take and we still have to have the architects bid on the project.”
According to the project request drawn up by Campus Planner Dale Braun, the project is anticipated to begin in June 2008.
Feist put together a survey to find out what was being utilized in the Suites and what students liked and did not like. The results are still pending. “Some of the concerns we have are whether or not we will need kitchen areas on each floor as we have now, or if they would rather have something else,” Willson said.
There is a 40 percent ratio of students that attend River Falls that live in South Fork Suites Willson said.
“We want that number to continue to grow when we build the addition,” Willson said.
Students on campus seem to have an overall good outlook on the addition.
“I think it’s a good idea that they add on, maybe it will keep more people on campus,” junior Joe Anderson said. “There is not a lot of off-campus living either so that might help too.”
The plans for the new building will go to A/E selection in April this month; the bid date will be given in June 2008. After the bid is given construction will start. In June 2009, there should be substantial progress made, according to the project proposal.
The original building was opened earlier than it was expected to be. The amount of money that went into the building also included funds to furnish the building and have the staff for the building.
With the new building addition, Residence Life will be able to move people in right away. In the original building, they waited to move people in because of the snow and other reasons related to that, Willson said.
With an addition to the Suites, there has been talk of allowing students other than strictly juniors and seniors to live in the building.
Freshman Roxy White said she thinks it would be a good idea to allow sophomores to live in the Suites as well.
“I think it is a good idea, but maybe if there were more opportunity for students to live there, it would be a take on living there,” White said.
With the construction of the addition to the Suites, students will still be able to live there.
“I think it would be a good idea to open it to more students," freshman Jane Dougherty said. "I also think that it would appeal to more people and they would be more apt to want to live in the Suites."
The Suites addition is expected to be completed by fall 2009.