With its residence halls at the Neosho campus filled to capacity for the upcoming semester, Crowder College is now looking to expand.

With its residence halls at the Neosho campus filled to capacity for the upcoming semester, Crowder College is now looking to expand.

Dr. Jim Cummins, Crowder’s vice president of finance, got permission from the board of directors on Thursday to pursue hiring a construction manager for a new residence hall.
Cummins has also been working with Brad Erwin, president of Paragon Architecture, on the plans for the project.

“The point we’re at right now is Brad would love to begin design work,” Cummins said. “One of the things he’s kind of held off on and I’ve asked him to hold off on is before you get into design work, let me see if we’re ready as a board and a group to go ahead and get the construction manager on board.”

Cummins said the college would be looking at a multi-story, 200 bed housing facility, located between the two sets of front dorms.
The existing dorms were built in two phases, one set in 1998 and the next in 2004.
Cummins said with the addition, Crowder would be able to house approximately 380 students.
He said the current residence halls were built for 165 students.
However, the number of students in the dorms is usually higher, because the residence halls, with rooms designed for two, have had to house many students three per room.

“Right now we have a total of 90 bedrooms and in double capacity that’s 180 students,” said campus life coordinator Mark Aubuchon. “If we tripled every room that’d be 270. But we usually have in August between 200-220 bed spaces.”

Aubuchon said the residence halls fill quickly, and are already full for the upcoming semester, with several students on a wait list.
He said the residence halls have a limited number of beds they can offer to incoming freshmen, due to the majority of rooms being filled with returning sophomores, resident assistants, CAMP students and student athletes.

“Every August we only bring in around 40 freshmen,” Aubuchon said. “That’s all the bed spaces we have for now.”

He said he is confident the college would be able to fill the 200-bed addition, and noted that it would offer an opportunity for Crowder.

“When we talk about expansion of the dormitories that’s going to open up tremendous opportunity for the admissions department to recruit students,” Aubuchon said.  

Cummins said he hoped to find a construction manager to be approved by the board in July.
He said if all goes as planned, construction on the new residence hall would hopefully be finished in time for the spring 2015 semester.  

Cummins said the next step after selecting a construction manager would be to discuss the project scope and financing at the July board meeting.
In the meantime, Aubuchon said the current dorms will be undergoing improvements this summer.
The residence halls will be painted, updated shower enclosures will be installed and the carpets will be steam cleaned.