Two weeks after the dedication of Ouachita’s new Student Village dorm complex, many upperclassmen have settled into their new homes while university administrators are planning the next phase of construction.
“We are scheduled to start Nov. 1 and have it finished in time for move in next August,” said Brett Powell, vice president for administrative services.
The new dorms will be built near Maddox and Flippen-Perrin.
“We’re planning on two buildings between Flippen and Maddox,” Powell said. “It forms sort of a circle there of those four buildings, with Maddox and Flippen at the two ends.”
The administration hopes to offer a wide array of housing, so that students can choose which type of dorm best suits their preferences.
“Rather than put a living space in each suite, we are going to have one living space per floor,” said OBU President Rex Horne. “It’s going to be a big, den-type feel. And so that’s going to be one of the differences. And the thing that I like about it is that when students come to Ouachita they are going to have a lot of different kinds of choices.”
“We’ve got the new Student Village that some will like. We’ve got Maddox and Anthony,” Powell said. “Some choose to live in O.C. Bailey. Others will choose this housing.”
Two years ago, discussions with students provided valuable input toward the new construction projects. Students were asked what they wanted out of campus housing.
“There were a couple of different ideas that came out of that,” Powell said. “One was that a lot of students said they wanted their own private space. They wanted to be able to share a living space with other students, but they really wanted their own private space also. So that’s why we have the private rooms that are in the village.”
While some students requested private space, others wanted to surround themselves with people.
“Another idea that came out of those discussions was a lot of students said, ‘We want a place we can share with a lot of students. If we could get 20 or 30 people together and sort of build a community—that is what we want in housing,’” Powell explained. “So that’s sort of what we are going to be doing” with the new building phase.
“The way each of the floors is arranged in the two buildings is individual suites around the outside of a big living area. So, you’ll have a suite with four students in it that is just bedrooms and bathrooms. And there are six of those suites that surround a big living room. So, you have lots of seating area and TV. So you’ve got 24 people on that floor that can build a community among themselves.”
There were practical reasons for the building plans as well.
“We are trying to provide something between freshmen housing and the Student Village that would be newer—we have to replace Ernest Bailey and Conger,” Powell said. “So what we realized was we needed something between those two, for when students move out of Francis Crawford or Flippen-Perrin, if they don’t want to go to the village. We have Anthony and Maddox. That’s not enough to house everybody. So, that’s what we’re working on—plans for those four buildings (are) … similar to Anthony’s or Maddox’s layout.”
Although this is Ouachita’s second major student housing construction project in two years, the primary purpose is not to build more dorms, but to replace the old ones.
“It’s really just to replace the older dorms,” Powell explained. “The beds that we have in the village are just slightly more than what was in Daniel. We had about 300 beds in Daniel. The village houses 360 people.”
Between Daniel, Ernest Bailey and Conger, there were 488 beds. And with the village and these two new buildings combined, there will be 520 new beds.
“Primarily we are replacing beds,” Horne said. “Although, when we get these other two built we will have a few more beds than what we had before we started building. But it’s really a quality issue, a choice issue, as much as the number of beds, though we will have the capability of continuing to build as needed, because we do think the future holds an increase in our student body.”
By Hannah Holmes, The Signal opinion co-editor