A plan to build a new eco-friendly 250-bed dormitory by fall 2016 on the western side of Framingham State University’s campus is coming to fruition.
The Massachusetts State College Building Authority has issued a request for proposals to further study where the new residence could be located, as well as the size and scope of the building.
“We’ll be looking at the feasibility of specific sites,” said Ed Adelman, executive director of the authority. “The [university’s] master plan makes a general recommendation of the neighborhood, so the architect will look at specific lots.”
The new dorm, which would have between 250 and 300 beds, is estimated to cost between $26 million and $32 million.
The planning study is slated to begin in April and be completed by July. Officials are hoping to begin construction of the new dorm by spring 2015, with the building opening for occupancy by the time school starts in August 2016.
The new residence hall would both help with rising enrollment and increasing demand to live on campus at the university, as well as compensate for turning O’Connor Hall from a dormitory into an administrative building.
After relocating students from O’Connor Hall, the new dorm would net about 100 beds, said Dan Magazu, spokesman for the university.
“We’ve grown, and that’s why the O’Connor transition is happening,” Magazu said. “We want to replace those beds, so we can keep the same number of students living on campus.”
Over the past five years, the university has seen nearly a 20 percent increase in the number of undergraduates. In fall 2012, there were 4,576 undergraduates and 1,930 graduate students.
The number of students living on campus shot up by more than 25 percent, to 1,941, or more than half the student population, as the school added more than 400 beds with the opening of the $48 million North Hall dormitory in fall 2011.
Once the new dorm is built, the university would help pay down the construction debt by raising rents campuswide, as was done following completion of North Hall, Magazu said.
This fiscal year, the university raised rents 6 percent, or an average of $388, which reflected both inflation and the new dorm’s cost. For the next fiscal year, rents will be raised only about 3 percent, or $200 on average, because of some debt refinancing that turned out well for the university, Magazu said.
So far, the university has pinpointed several locations on the western side of campus, where the dorm could be located, such as the parking lot at Maynard and Adams roads. Since all the potential locations are parking lots, the university would look into also constructing a multistory garage to make up for the loss of parking spaces, Magazu said.
Officials are also striving to make the new dorm eco-friendly, noting in the request for proposals that they are seeking long-term sustainable options when building the new residence.