Rhoads Hall residents soon may be seeing double with VCU’s plans to build another high-rise dormitory adjacent to the Rhoads building at 710 W. Franklin St.
Henry Rhone, vice provost for student affairs and enrollment services, said the new 600-bed addition should be finished in two years. The new tower will replace the lower building at Rhoads Hall, which Rhone referred to as “the west wing.”
“We are well into the planning stage,” he said. “We hope we can open it by the fall of 2005.”
The proposed building will differ slightly from Rhoads Hall, he said. The tower contains 600 beds and each floor shares a large common bathroom. Rooms in the new tower will be separated into quadrants and each grouping will share a single bathroom.
Mary, 19, a business major and Rhoads Hall resident who asked that her last name not be published, said a new building would be great but she foresees the same problems for the new building that now plague the Rhoads tower.
“I live on the 17th floor,” she said. “The elevators are always a problem.”
Ryan Semonich, 19, a marketing major who is also a Rhoads Hall resident, expressed concern that construction of a new building would raise the price of room and board.
Although Rhone did not comment on the proposed cost for the new building, he said funding for dormitory construction comes from student boarding fees.
“The rents are scaled to pay for construction costs,” Rhone said, “and to pay for bonds and debt (incurred during construction) to cover the expense of the building as well as the operational costs. No state dollars go to housing. That is the policy of the state of Virginia.”
Semonich also predicted complications between the construction project and the tenants.
“It will probably be harder to study because of the noise,” he said.
Rhone, who said he foresees some complications between the construction area and the residents, predicted problems would be minimal.
“There is likely to be some noise,” he said. “But it will be confined to normal working hours like 7 or 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.”
The vice provost also predicted complications with both pedestrian and vehicular traffic, saying residents probably will have to enter and exit the building through the same door and will have to avoid a protected construction site.
“It is a very tight location,” he said. “There might be slower traffic on Franklin Street near the dormitory.”
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