Construction begins on new dorms

The future of Central Campus with the Chittenden, Buckham and Wills residence halls torn down will see big changes. Students say they are wary about the changes.

The place where the dorms once stood is now a construction area, and some have questioned when all of the work will finally be finished.

“I thought it was good, I just wondered where everyone would live,” senior Michelle Monette said.

Questions some students have about what the new dorms will look like include, how much space they’ll take up and when they’ll be finished.

IMG_7091 copy
An excavator breaks ground on Central Campus where dorms once stood. SHELBY LONG/The Vermont Cynic

“I heard there was going to be a tunnel from the new dorms to the library,” first-year Mackenzie Patton-Donnelly said.

Robert Vaughan, director of Capital Planning and Management at UVM, oversees all projects on campus.

“They’re being built for first-year students, as one of the priorities of the president to bring first-year students to the middle of campus,” Vaughan said.

The new dorms will be larger than the old ones, Vaughan said. The buildings will be nearly seven stories high when completed and each room will be 30 square feet larger.

As part of the new dorms, a dining hall for 450 students will be constructed, according to UVM Facilities Design and Construction’s website.

“There will be food stations set up in the middle of the floor, rather than an all-you-can-eat style,” Vaughan said. “Seating will be situated around these stations, and there will be faculty teaching areas on food prep as well.”

“The first floor of the east wing will also hold a fitness center, Residential Life offices, and seminar rooms,” he said.

In addition, a new bridge will connect the dorm to the area around the main entrance of the library, according to UVM Facilities Design and Construction.

Some students are concerned about how the new structures will change the overall look of Central Campus.

“The buildings being tall will break up the look of main campus,” sophomore, Mackenzie Patton-Donnelly said. “I don’t like that.”

Monette pointed out the possible benefits it might add to the first-year experience.

“It sounds cool,” she said. “It’ll be good for freshman to be in the center of campus for the first year and get familiar with it.”

The dorms are scheduled to be completed in August 2017, Vaughan said.