Rendering of the first residence hall to be built as part of the Village at St Mary39s St. Mary's University

Rendering of the first residence hall to be built as part of the Village at St. Mary's.

Residence hall under construction at St. Mary's University in San Antonio

St. Mary’s University in San Antonio is preparing to build a 232-bed suite-style residence hall.

The university says the hall is the first phase of a construction project that will replace seven of the school’s residence halls with a living community called The Village at St. Mary’s.

Officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking this week, and construction is scheduled to begin in June. The 90,000-square-foot hall is intended to house primarily juniors and seniors when it is completed in 2017.

When the building opens, St. Mary’s plans to demolish Adele and Archbishop Flores halls to clear the way for more construction. Eventually, five more residence halls—Cremer, Donohoo, Frederick, Leies and Lourdes—will be torn down and replaced.

To fulfill its living community concept, St. Mary’s will offer amenities such as a central community building, pool, green space, sports courts, and an amphitheater to persuade more students to live on campus.

In creating the Village at St. Mary’s, university leaders are acknowledging that the quality of campus housing isn’t meeting the evolving expectations of students and parents. “Most incoming freshmen live on campus, but housing options beyond the first year lack the features desired by upperclassmen,” the university says.

Nearly 57 percent of about 2,300 undergraduate students at St. Mary’s now live on campus. School officials hope that housing upgrades help the university reach its goal of having 75 percent of students living on campus.

The university estimates that it will take under 2030 to replace all seven residence halls.

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