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June 27, 2103 Volume 34, No. 32

Board approves phase one of Dobbs Replacement Project

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MORE SPACE AND EFFICIENCY The illustration shows how phase one of the Dobbs Replacement Project might look when complete. The project includes demolition of Jones Hall and the Pavilion at Dobbs, and the construction of two residence halls and a dining-facility building. Illustration courtesy of Residential Life.

Project is final step in the Residential Life Master Plan

The University of Missouri Board of Curators approved June 13 the first phase of the Dobbs Replacement Project, which includes Jones, Lathrop and Laws halls and the Pavilion at Dobbs dining facility. The $71-million Residential Life project would include the demolition of Jones Hall and the Pavilion, and the construction of two residence halls and a dining-facility building. 

Constructed in 1957, the three Dobbs residence halls received “critical measure” upgrades in 2002, including addressing water leakage problems and installing window air-conditioning units.

But those were just Band-Aid fixes, as the buildings were in need of extensive renovations. The elevators require regular maintenance. Also, the 1950s-era electrical circuits were constantly tripping under the strain of some 25 appliances the average student today brings, said Frankie Minor, director of Residential Life. 

“These facilities were designed for students of another era,” he said. “We really risk losing the ability to use those facilities at all if we don’t address those needs. [This project is] preparing the facilities as best we can — not only for today’s students but also for the next generation of students to come.”

Dobbs upgrades will also address the increased enrollment in recent years. The current capacity of the Dobbs group is 1,010. Phase one of the project will net 232 beds, and if all phases are completed on schedule, there will be a capacity of 1,269 beds by 2020. Additionally, Campus Dining Services will increase the capacity of the dining facility from 325 seats to 750 seats. 

The exteriors of the new five-story residence halls will look similar to the Southwest Campus Housing Complex, which consists of North, Center and South halls, and will feature community-style living. Currently, the cost of living in Jones is $4,625 a year; traditional housing that’s been renovated is $5,750 a year; and suite-style rooms are $6,820 a year. 

After a cost analysis, based on current rates, replacing the buildings instead of renovating them will add $250 annually to a resident’s bill. In conversations with students, Minor said it was clear that a majority would prefer a new building to a renovated one.

“For them, it was a no brainer,” Minor said.

With more beds available, Minor hopes that students living in Tiger Diggs, privately owned apartments MU leases for student housing, will be able to live on campus. 

The first phase of the project is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2015 with the first residence hall opening in fall 2016 and the second residence hall and dining facility opening in fall 2017. Residential Life needs to go back to curators for approval of any future phases. 

The Dobbs Replacement Project is the final step in the Residential Life Master Plan approved in May 2001. 

— Kelsey Allen