Mercer Cluster

Mercer plans new freshman residence hall

Marin Guta

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

2014.12.08_Mercer Housing_Rendering 1

Mercer plans to begin construction this May on a new freshman women’s residence hall that will open in summer 2016.

It’s been a decade since the university built its last residence hall, Mercer Hall, which is comparable to apartment-style housing but without a kitchen. With the spike in student enrollment and the current housing crunch on campus, Dr. James S. Netherton, executive vice president for administration and finance, believes it’s time for the bulldozers to return to campus.

“We needed to add another on-campus, traditional, non-apartment, community-style residence hall,” Netherton said. “We needed that in order to provide the best experience for them.”

The new four-story residence hall will house 300 freshmen and include eight community bathrooms. The front entrance of the building will be on Elm Street between Mary Erin Porter Hall and Plunkett Hall. A new road to the building will be created through Ash Street. The university plans to tear down Physical Plant and East Hall to create space for the residence hall and an additional 200 parking spaces.

“The ultimate plan is to make it a more residential area and to move those buildings (Physical Plant and East Hall) to more administrative areas,” said Jeff Takac, director of Mercer’s Office of Housing and Residence Life.

Until the new freshman residence hall is built, the Lofts Phase IV – originally designated for only graduate, law and medical students – will temporarily be open for housing to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

“If there will be enough undergraduate demand, there’ll be no law students or med students living there (Lofts Phase IV),” Netherton said.  “They won’t have a chance to sign up ‘til some period of time, when only some undergraduate students can.”

Once the hall is open, the Lofts Phase IV will be open to only graduate, medical and law students. The Lofts Phase IV are under construction behind the post office.

The design plans for the new freshman residence hall were predicated on creating a “community setting” in order to enhance a freshman’s college experience and increase student retention rates, according to Netherton and Takac.

“The best experience for students is a community bath residence hall,” Netherton said. “What’s really important is the ‘community’ word – a residence hall that is community focused.”

The building will be outfitted with both large and small group study rooms. The  hallways will “zig and zag” and be “wider than normal” in order to create “little neighborhoods” where students can interact, Netherton said.

The new hall will have only one exit and entrance for the building “so that you’re more likely to bump into people as you come and go,” Netherton said. The laundry room will also have a visitation area.

The early design renderings feature a “protected area” surrounded on three sides by the building where Netherton envisions students will “hang out and enjoy themselves.” However, the exact usage for the area is yet to be determined, he said.

The building will have a red brick and stone exterior, in order to be similar to the other buildings on campus, Netherton said. There will also be a large “green space” in front of entrance to the building.

Takac said that the university is still in the early stages of the project, and the design is still up for change. “It’s just exciting time for housing, we have a lot going on, and we are really looking forward to seeing where it goes,” Takac said. “Hopefully, it meets the needs of our incoming student class.”

Contracting service Chris R. Sheridan & Co., the same contractor used for Mercer’s stadium and fieldhouse, will be used for the new residence hall. Studio-based McMillan Pazdan Smith, the same architect used for Mercer’s fieldhouse, will be used for residence hall’s architectural plans.

The University anticipates to begin construction in May after graduation and Netherton hopes to have the building’s Certificate of Occupancy from the local government  by July 1, 2016, so freshman athletes can move in.

Although Netherton is still caught up in the early stages of design, he believes that the new residence hall has the potential to “be the most desirable residence hall on campus.”



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Writer
Marin Guta, Digital Editor

Marin is a fourth year at Mercer's Center for Collaborative Journalism and she's served as The Cluster's Digital Editor since August 2014. She loves Facebook,...

Leave a Comment

No Responses to “Mercer plans new freshman residence hall”

  1. 5 things to start your week: Cluster staff beats out UGA and Georgia Southern, Mercer’s new freshman residence hall, dean Lake Lambert III leaves for Hanover College, Danish students paid to attend college and 2015 Grammy Awards on February 9th, 2015 9:16 am

    […] Mercer plans new freshman residence hall […]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Left
  • Mercer plans new freshman residence hall


    Mercer student threatened with gun near Stadium Drive Bridge

  • Mercer plans new freshman residence hall


    Suspect on the loose after Armed Robbery in Tattnall Square Park

  • Mercer plans new freshman residence hall


    Shots fired at students in Mercer Village

  • Mercer plans new freshman residence hall


    Residence Life seeks student volunteers

  • Mercer plans new freshman residence hall


    Bears fall short 70-68 against Chattanooga

  • Mercer plans new freshman residence hall


    Mercer under investigation for possible violations of Title IX

  • Mercer plans new freshman residence hall


    New quarterback leaves Mercer football team

  • Mercer plans new freshman residence hall


    Kyle Lewis drafted 11th overall by Seattle Mariners

  • Mercer plans new freshman residence hall


    Four sexual assaults have been reported to Mercer Police in the last four months

  • Mercer plans new freshman residence hall


    Nu-Way opens in Mercer Village

Navigate Right
The student news site of Mercer University
Mercer plans new freshman residence hall