Story by MITCHELL BROWN, for The Muleskinner
As UCM enrollment continues to surge, plans for new student housing are in development.
The motion for what has been named the “mixed use” project was recently approved by Central’s Board of Governors.
The building differs from the dorms and current university apartments in that the first floor will contain commercial, retail amenities, and four upper level stories will contain student dwelling.
The prospective location for the building is the General Services building, located on South Street in between Washington and Holden Streets.
The construction of the mixed use building isn’t due to be finished and in use until the fall of 2015. The idea for the mixed use building project, tentatively titled Holden Village, came out of a 2009 campus master plan.
In a published study of the results, it was documented that a need for new apartment style housing on campus exists, due to increased enrollment.
Jeff Murphy, assistant director of University media relations said that increased enrollment is not the only reason for the new building.
Murphy said that there is also a need for upgraded University housing. “Most of our current housing facilities were built in the 1960s,” he said. “The proposed mixed-use project provides an opportunity to start from the ground up and build a state-of-the-art housing facility.”
The cover picture on the Holden Village study depicts smiling students seated in front of a Starbucks. Chris Wellman, director of UCM Faciliites, Planning and Operations, said getting a Starbucks located in the mixed use building might be a possibility.
Charlie Rutt, director of the University Store, said there is a possibility of having a convenience store within the mixed use building.
He said such arrangements are trending in metropolitan areas.
Rutt summed up the motivation of such an arrangement by saying “Let’s have products and services in the same building.”
But as of now, the only commercial amenity that has been secured is another location for the University Store.
The new location will serve as an auxillary unit, dealing in apparel and sports merchandise, with only some college supplies.
The opening of the auxillary unit in the mixed use building will slightly change the make up of the current University Store; Once the auxiliary store is opened, plans will be made to move the technology items in Union Station into the current University Store and to move textbooks upstairs into the book store.
Rutt said these changes will eliminate confusion for new students by having books in one location.
Another reason for the auxillary store in the mixed-use building is to increase visibility.
Reasons for the desired location for the yet-to-be built mixed-use facility are its central location and proximity to Walton Stadium and downtown Warrensburg.
Before contruction of the new housing facility can begin, the departments within the General Services building have to be moved.
The General Services building houses Printing, Services, the procurement office, Shipping and Receiving, Facility Maintenance, as well as the football locker rooms and showers.
Wellman said new homes for the departments have to be found before demolition can start.
Murphy said the mixed-use building project is also tied to the renovations at Walton Stadium, which is where the locker rooms will be moved to.
Wellman added that the most likely site for a new General Services building is South East Elementary school, which is no longer in use.
On May 1, UCM purchased the property from the Warrensburg R-VI School District.
Features of the transaction include, 4.6 acres of land, a 26,142 square foot building and three transportable buildings measuring 4160 square feet.
Murphy said the new location for General Services will incorporate greater energy efficiency efforts, and Wellmen added that the location is desirable because it’s adjacent to the University.
The moving of the departments in the General Services building is set to begin sometime around the start of 2013.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $63 million. The cost of the construction of the new housing alone is estimated at $38 million.
Murphy said the project will be financed through the utilizing of debt financing, apartment rental agreements and lease agreements by retail establishments.