In response to an expressed need for additional student housing on the St. Thomas campus, the University of the Virgin Islands will bring the brand new, 100-bed West Residence Hall online for Fall Semester 2012. The four-story, air conditioned facility will house 96 students and four resident assistants.
Having identified the improvement of campus facilities as a primary need, UVI broke ground on the West Residence Hall construction project in November 2011. Students are expected to occupy the building before the end of August 2012.
"For several years the St. Thomas campus has had a waiting list for on-campus housing," UVI President Dr. David Hall said. "Construction of the West Residence Hall is the University's answer to the St. Thomas campus housing shortage."
The West Residence Hall has sweeping, panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea, a feature that Dr. Hall said rivals the picturesque settings of many of the territory's most sought-after vacation resorts. The 37,000 sq. ft. building is energy-efficient, ADA-compliant and will feature an identification card secure access system.
"We value our students and felt that by erecting this state-of-the-art facility where we did, the building's residents would be guaranteed a million-dollar view," Dr. Hall said. The West Residence Hall, which overlooks Brewers Bay Beach, Black Point Hill and Perseverence Bay, places residents in close proximity to the Ralph M. Paiewonsky Library, most classroom buildings and the campus Dining Pavilion.
Designed by local architect Jerryn McCray and GWWO of Baltimore, the West Residence Hall was constructed by GEC, LLC of St. Croix. Utilizing sustainable (locally produced) materials and keeping energy conservation in mind, it features a covered canopy design to provide shade and reduce heat absorption. The West Residence Hall makes the most of an energy-heat exchanger that harnesses heat from the air conditioning system to create domestic hot water, thereby lessening electrical demand.
Finishing touches are being made to the building, including the installation of an ADA-compliant, heavy duty elevator.
"The contractors are working expeditiously to ensure that students will be able to move into the building as soon as possible," Dr. Hall said.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for September 6.
Key features of the West Residence Hall include:
- Four stories - two entrance levels
- Thermostatically controlled air conditioning
- Solar hot water heating
- Thermo-paned, tinted windows
- 150 KW auto-start generator
- Low-flow toilets and sinks
- Structural steel and reinforced poured concrete construction
- 37,000 sq. feet
- ADA compliant
- ID card access
- 19 suites, each containing 4-6 individual rooms
- Four resident assistant apartments.
- One seminar room
- One laundry room (Contains 6 washers & 7 dryers)
- Two common kitchens
- Four lounge areas
- 26 video cameras (common areas only)
- Wi-Fi, voice and data network wiring
- Fire alarm and sprinkler system