SOUTH KINGSTOWN - A new $42 million residence hall will not be ready for students to move in next month at the University of Rhode Island.
Construction is not yet complete on Hillside Hall, the university’s newest dormitory. The 120,000 square foot, five story structure was scheduled to house 429 students beginning this fall, who have now been advised to find other living arrangements until the dorm opens in October.
“The university communicated well in advance to students and parents about the construction delays related to Hillside Hall and the need for temporary accommodations,” Linda Acciardo, the university’s spokeswoman said in a statement.
Displaced students may now be forced to live with two other students in what is meant to be a double room. Students placed in these “forced triples” only received such placement if they followed the university’s housing assignment policy and met its deadlines.
“Nobody who met the deadlines was shut out of any on campus housing,” Acciardo said.
Those who failed to meet the deadlines are essentially on their own for finding alternate accommodations until the dorm’s completion.
Acciardo said that the students and university community were made aware of the construction delays.
“Our housing and residential staff was very careful not to promise a September move-in date, given the delay resulting from the discovery of ledge on the construction site,” she said.
Ground was broken to begin construction on the site in May 2011. Soon after, 6,000 cubic yards of rubble and ledge were discovered, which resulted in unanticipated blasting and excavating and the removal of the unsuitable material.
The university is promoting Hillside Hall as the most energy efficient residence hall on campus, as the building is designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design “silver” standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The new dorm is the most expensive on campus, according to the university’s list of housing rates. The Hillside Hall room rate for freshmen, for whom the dorm is intended, is $4,076. All other freshman dorms cost $3,521.
Students forced to live in a triple while the construction is completed will receive a discounted room rate for six weeks. This is also outlined on the university’s housing policy and was confirmed by Acciardo.
The dorm is being built by KBE Building Corporation of Farmington, Conn. According to Acciardo, KBE is working double shifts and six-day workweeks to complete the construction as quickly as possible.
“The west wing is just about complete,” Acciardo said. “The east wing needs additional interior work, mostly finishings, but some electrical and plumbing. Roadwork, walkways and plantings need to be completed before the October opening.”
The initial completion date for Hillside Hall was projected as Aug. 23. It is now scheduled for mid-October.
Despite the delays, the university is still celebrating the dorm as an accomplishment, which will increase on-campus living from around 38 percent six years ago to about 50 percent.
“Within the last five-and-a-half years, we opened three new residences to address the [housing] needs of upperclassmen,” Acciardo said. “And now with this one we will enhance the freshman experience.”