Planning under way for CMU residence hall, rec center expansion

Planning is under way for yet another residence hall as well as an expanded recreation center to accommodating growing student enrollment at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.

The CMU Board of Trustees agreed to move forward with planning for a new residence hall that could be completed in time for the fall 2015 semester. If a new residence hall is constructed, it would be the sixth built since the 2005-2006 academic year.

The board also authorized CMU officials to proceed with a $6 million expansion project at the Hamilton Recreation Center in the Maverick Center scheduled for completion by December 2014.

Plans will be presented to the board in January that will include an inventory of existing student housing, an assessment of what type of housing would best meet student preferences and proposed financing for another residence hall.

CMU currently has the capacity to house a total of 2,251 students with 11 residence halls on campus. Those halls range from the 43-bed Elm Hall to the 304-bed residence hall along North Avenue. Garfield Hall, which opened this fall, added another 208 beds. Student housing was 97 percent occupied this fall.

A housing study conducted by Anderson Stickler estimated the potential demand for additional student housing at 360 to 767 beds.

Even as planning for a new residence hall proceeds, CMU officials expect to seek proposals for an architect and construction manager to design and oversee an expansion to the recreation center.

CMU officials say the expansion is needed to accommodate growth in student enrollment as well as participants in intercollegiate and club sports.

According to a census conducted in September, the official student count for the fall semester at CMU came to 9,369, a 3.6 percent increase over the fall semester last year. The count included 2,186 first-time entering students, a 5.8 percent increase over last fall and the largest number of first-time freshmen ever.