UHV to open residence hall, possible additional facilities in fall 2017

An architectural rendering shows what the new University of Houston-Victoria residence hall will look like when it opens in fall 2017.

University of Houston-Victoria administrators have decided to slow the process of constructing the university’s fourth residence hall and hope that the end result will be a new student center and recreation center also opening in fall 2017.

Vic Morgan

“We’re going to take our time,” UHV Interim President Vic Morgan said. “By doing this, we think we can provide additional benefits for our students.”

The university had announced in March that it would partner with Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions, a developer and operator of infrastructure projects for universities, to construct a $20 million residence hall opening in fall 2016 for sophomores and upperclassmen.

The tight timeline and some changes in the bidding process caused administrators to re-evaluate the project and decide to rebid it. The residence hall now will open in fall 2017, but the scope of the project will not change, said Wayne Beran, UHV vice president for administration and finance.

“This project will be the university’s largest residence hall once it is built and truly will be a showcase,” he said.

Wayne Beran

Administrators also hope that the later opening date will create additional opportunities to partner with the developer of the residence hall to also construct a student center and recreation center.

In February, UHV students living within a 50-mile radius of Victoria voted to assess themselves a fee for construction of a student center, and approval of the fee is currently in front of the Texas Legislature. Construction of a recreation center also would need to be funded through student fees or donations rather than state funding.

“We will be taking a look at how all these facilities will fit together to offer the best experience for our students and meet our target of having 6,000 students on the Victoria campus by 2025,” Morgan said.

The four-story, 111,000-square-foot residence hall still will be built on a vacant 2-acre lot on the east side of Ben Wilson Street between Arlington Apartments and the building housing Petroleum College International and UHV Athletics. The dorm will have 380 beds and two different suite plans, each housing four students. Both suite plans include a living area and kitchenette with a refrigerator, sink and microwave.

Demolition of both the Arlington Apartments and the Casa del Rio Apartments next to them will start around the beginning of July and be completed this summer.

Additional amenities in the residence hall will include laundry facilities, a TV lounge, gaming area, courtyard, classrooms and study rooms. Every floor also will have a full kitchen available for students.

UHV expects to rebid the residence hall project this summer and will begin construction in early spring of 2016, Beran said. The residence hall will be financed through a public/private partnership.

After the residence hall is constructed, UHV’s existing three dorms on the Houston Highway will be used for freshman housing.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paula Cobler