Baylor University has completed one of 10 residence hall projects that it plans to undertake in the next eight years.
The Waco, Texas, university spent $8.5 million on overhauling South Russell Hall, which was finished in August, according to a press release from the design firm, KSQ Architects. South Russell is a 222-bed dorm with double student rooms and community baths, and starting next school year, it will be the home of the university’s Education Living Learning Center.
“We have kept our focus (on) creating a transformational student experience, rooted in opportunities for positive peer leader, faculty, and staff influence,” Jeff Doyle, dean of Student Learning and Engagement, said in a statement. “With KSQ’s help, we have taken an almost 50-year old building and re-created it as a home for learning, friendship, and growth that will serve our students for another 50 years.”
KSQ incorporated “fish bowl” glass-encased study rooms in corridors that allow students to “see and be seen” while studying, according to the press release. The firm also capitalized on natural light in the corridors.
Community kitchens and a recreation and game area were added to the basement to enhance the residence hall’s sense of camaraderie. Meanwhile, study lounges, a faculty-in-residence, a classroom and seminar rooms will support the living-learning program.
“Our partnership with Baylor on South Russell Hall is something our team is really proud of,” Sean Studzinski, KSQ principal in the firm’s Texas office, said in a statement. “Our creative use of both their existing space and their budget is testimony to KSQ’s innovation in student housing.”
Here’s a look at other project features, according to the press release:
• New foyer, furniture and front desk area
• Full kitchen for residents and guests
• New quiet study spaces and expanded community lounges
• Wi-Fi throughout the hall
• 19 single rooms
• New laundry area (with free laundry) and new vending machines
• Game room and fitness room on the basement level
• Moveable furniture to include a fully loftable bed, desk, and chest of drawers
• New classroom and seminar room in basement level
• New study lounge in basement level
• New faculty-in-residence apartment
• Expanded and repositioned hall director and resident chaplain residences
• New glass walls front lobby meeting room
• New reflection room adjacent to lobby
• New and redesigned community bath areas with lockable shower entry doors