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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Staff Writer
After construction crews squeezed 10 months of work into seven months and a total price tag of $4.2 million, the new dorm at St. Catharine College is finally ready to welcome the 74 students who will call it home. The public will get a chance to check out the new facility when the college hosts an open house Friday from 3-6 p.m. A tour will be provided along with light refreshments.
“The crews did a great job,” said St. Catharine College President William D. Huston. “They worked around the clock, as many as five or six trades at one time. Some worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week."
The new dorm features free cable television and two T1 high-speed Internet connections in each student room, along with a lobby area and meeting rooms.
“This is the first of any of our dorms that has a lobby,” said Huston. “There will also be a couple conference rooms for the students.”
While construction of the dorm was underway, as many as 60 students at one time were housed at the Springfield Inn at no additional cost to the students.
“It was a little inconvenient for them living out there,” added Huston. “But in the fall, they had a swimming pool. They had a little bit more freedom, living next door to Wendy's, Fred's and IGA. But we didn't have any problems. I didn't get a single call from the hotel and I think everything went quite well.”
The college experienced a 34-percent increase in enrollment from last spring to the fall semester. Now that SCC is a four-year college, more students are staying on campus. Huston said the school has not yet felt the full impact of impending juniors and seniors on campus.
“We're getting more and more students into our junior and senior classes,” Huston said. “We still have another bubble coming up when we reach the full impact of being a four-year athletic program as well. When I came here, we had 44 kids on campus. We now have close to 240 or 245.”
Workers from Luckett and Farley Construction were putting the finishing touches on the new dorm Monday as the project's Jan. 9 deadline approached.
“If the weather doesn't cooperate, we may not have green grass on the ground Friday,” said Luckett and Farley Construction Coordinator John McKaig. “We're still doing some odds and ends, but for the most part, it's finished.”
With more students living on campus, the student center is also undergoing a facelift to handle more hungry students.
“We're doing some additional renovations as well.” Huston added. “We're putting in new carpet, blinds and paint into the student center. It's all part of the package.”
The campus around St. Catharine will be growing more this summer as the college prepares to build a new library near the health and science building.
“It's going to be three floors above ground with a cafe and restaurant,” Huston said. “If it doesn't happen this summer, then maybe this fall.”
Huston said the college is dedicated to accommodating the growing St. Catharine student population and will gladly welcome the problem of having to build additional student housing in the future.
The open house will be held in the main lobby of the new dorm from 3 – 6 p.m. To RSVP, please call (859) 336-5082 ext. 1204 or send an email to email@example.com.