February 12, 2004

SIUC will purchase private residence hall

by Tom Woolf

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is adding an off-campus residence hall to its housing stock to meet the growing demand for conference space.

The SIU Board of Trustees today (Feb. 12) approved the $2.35 million purchase of University Hall, located at 1101 S. Wall St., from Jeffrey Woodruff. The 77,067-square-foot facility, built in 1965, is just east of the Brush Towers high-rise residence halls.

The four-story brick building has 239 resident rooms and apartments, dining facilities, in-ground pool and storage buildings. The purchase price includes all furnishings and equipment, and figures out to a cost of about $30 per square foot.

Housing Director Edward L. Jones hopes the University can take over the property by May 15, if not earlier.

"We'd like to get in there and start looking over the facility so we can make the adjustments we think are necessary," he said. "There are some deficiencies, but none of it is deal-breaking stuff. We've had a couple of inspections of the property."

The acquisition gives the University more housing options to offer campus visitors during the busy summer conference and building renovation season. It will also provide surge space as the University moves forward with its housing master plan.

"As we develop new housing and renovate existing housing in the next 15 years, we will need flexible space for students," said SIUC Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Larry Dietz.

Jones says the space can be used immediately to take care of summer campers and conference goers.

"Every summer we have the Christ in Youth conferences here," he noted. "When that started, it brought about 1,200 people to campus. Last year, there were 4,000 people over a couple of sessions. We have other conferences and we have renovations that we do during the summer. We cannot accommodate that many people with everything else we have going on."

In fact, University officials expect Christ in Youth to bring more than 6,000 people to campus this summer.

University Housing reserves will pay for the acquisition.