SOU hopes to move students into the new dorms by fall of 2013.

Halls of higher learning

The new dormitories at Southern Oregon University are rising rapidly — showing two or three stories, in most places — and are coming in under budget and on time so far, says the school's housing director, Tim Robitz.

Being built by Adroit Construction of Ashland, the 702-bed, suite-style North Campus Village will cost between $40 million and $50 million and should be ready for fall term 2013, Robitz said.

The two residence halls and a dining complex are being built on SOU-owned land and financed by American Campus Communities, a builder-manager of campus properties valued at $2.8 billion, according to its website.

"They develop, build and manage them and we lease out the ground," said Robitz, adding that the estimated bottom line includes final financing costs.

Adroit crews have been building concrete footings, framing rooms and hanging fiberboard sheeting for walls on the two residence halls, which will total 200,000 square feet, said project manager Steve Lawrence.

"The residence halls will be four stories and we've framed walls up through the third story on the south hall and are framing walls on the second story of the north hall," said Lawrence.

The halls are 35 percent to 40 percent complete, he added, while the 27,500-square-foot dining hall is about 20 percent done, with the concrete slab slated for pouring in early September. The east parking lot is done and the south parking lot is under construction.

The dorms will consist of four-room suites with two bathrooms and a common living space, some with kitchenettes. It will be a step below Madrone Hall, completed in 2005, which has groups of four-person apartments in which students have their own bedrooms and share a living room, full kitchen and two bathrooms.

The new halls will replace the aging Cascade dorm, built in the 1970s east of Indiana Street. Cascade will be "re-purposed" for faculty from the Science Building, which must undergo a seismic retrofit, said Robitz. When that's done, Cascade will be razed, with the site eventually being used for classrooms.

The new halls are as yet unnamed, but cost-conscious SOU is open to "putting a donor's name on any of the three buildings," he said. If that doesn't happen, students may be asked to name them after something or someone that "speaks of the region," Robitz added.

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at

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