Delaware State University announces plans to build large residence hall, raze two others

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Delaware State University’s Board of Trustees announced plans
to enhance the University’s capacity to meet its growing residential enrollment with a new 200,000-square- foot residence hall, slated to open in the fall of 2019.

The facility will house up to 600 students at maximum capacity.

Currently 2,300 of the University’s 4,600 students live on campus.

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Board Chairwoman Wilma Mishoe says “Our number one priority at DSU is student success and we believe that encompasses every aspect of student life including rigorous academic offerings, exceptional teaching, learning and service opportunities, and a residential community that is inviting and
inclusive,” Mishoe said. “This new effort helps us match the demand we have felt from our students with the goals we have outlined for their success.”

In May 2016, the university initiated a project to identify specific housing needs and to meet increased demand with minimal financial impact to the students and university. The deal was developed as a public/private partnership contract, in which a private developer will design, build, operate and maintain a facility through a long-term ground lease.

After the lease term, the University will assume full ownership of the facility, saving millions of dollars in construction and operating costs while generating significant cash flow that can be used in funding other priorities.

DSU President Harry L. Williams said such a financing arrangement was not unusual in higher education.

“Universities like ours don’t always have the leverage or in-house expertise to effectively negotiate the terms; DSU is fortunate to have both,” Williams said. “We also have a board that is willing to be innovative in growing the campus without transferring the cost of that growth to our students.”

The project will also eliminate over $15 million in deferred maintenance in maintaining Tubman and Laws Halls, two of the oldest residential facilities on campus. Both will be demolished at the conclusion of the new residence hall construction.

The five-story structure will be adjacent to historic Loockerman Hall, the birthplace of the university, and will also include a new dining facility and a ground floor innovation center that will create a connection between the university’s academic programs and student affairs, a DSU release stated.

A private developer announced plans last summer for a $40 million student housing project that would be built on land near the campus. DSU officials have made it clear that the university has no involvement in that project.

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