Mesa State expanding student housing

Just weeks before the scheduled completion this summer of a residence hall on Bunting Avenue, Mesa State College trustees decided Monday to add another 182 beds to its ever-expanding roster of student housing complexes.

The college’s board of trustees voted at a meeting in Avon to proceed with the $11 million construction project of a new residence hall. Construction may begin as soon as August so that the new residence hall can open by the time classes start in fall 2012, according to Mesa State Vice President of Finance Pat Doyle.

A location for the residence hall has not been determined, but given the limited open space the college owns on the main campus, Doyle said the hall may go somewhere on the north side of campus.

The new Bunting Avenue residence hall will be the third residence hall to open on the Mesa State campus in the past five years. Even though the hall will add 328 beds to campus, a study completed this year by college housing market analysts Anderson Strickler, LLC found the college will likely be 244 beds short of demand for on-campus housing this fall.

The study estimated 2,110 students would live on campus this fall if there were room for them. Most first-year and sophomore students are required to live on campus and all students are allowed to live on campus if they can find a room.

The bulk of the new housing venture will be paid for with $8 million in bonds and $3 million from the college. Reserve dollars, student food and housing charges for future tenants of the residence hall, and money freed up after the college stops paying an annual $1.25 million for a property it purchased for the Archuleta Engineering Center are expected to help the college pay off the project within five years.

Trustees also approved a 5.4 percent tuition increase for next year’s students at Monday’s meeting, authorized a 3 percent increase in room and board charges, and reviewed 16 possibilities for the college’s new logo when it becomes Colorado Mesa University Aug. 10.

Mesa State Executive Director of Marketing and Recruitment Rick Taggart presented to the trustees two recommendations for the logo based on input from a name change advisory committee and College President Tim Foster. Trustees displayed mixed feeling about the logos, although most favored a finalist that incorporates the Grand Mesa and Colorado River. Not everyone, though, had a clear favorite.

“I’ll be honest with you, I don’t like any of them,” Trustee Chairman Charlie Monfort said. “I think it’s weak-looking. As a Maverick, we need to look stronger.”

“My take on it is we’re not there yet,” Trustee Kathleen Eck said.

Taggart said he would take the advice of the board back to his design team, who will modify the two logo finalists, which incorporate local mountain formations, and a third design that was in the original 16 suggestions and features a torch.


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