September 28, 2011
Harding begins $12 million student housing project
Dr. David Burks, president of Harding University, today announced the launching of the largest single construction project in the school’s history.
Speaking to an assembly of more than 3,400 students, Burks said workers have begun site preparation for a $12 million project to build 84 new apartments on the Searcy campus.
The ambitious plan approved by the school’s board of trustees at its May meeting calls for the apartments to be ready for use by the beginning of the fall semester 2012. The new apartments will house approximately 200 students.
Sixty-four apartments will be built on the west side of the campus to expand housing for women and married students. There will be one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The apartments will be built on an area bordered by West Pleasure, Dr. Jimmy Carr Drive and East Park Ave.
Burks told the students the new facilities are unlike any of the current apartments on campus. “The apartments will be built in the new urban town concept. The apartments will actually be in 15 separate buildings,” said Burks. “Each building will have its own distinctive look and exterior color scheme.”
He explained to the assembly the new structures on the west side of campus would definitely change the look of that portion of the campus. Once the initial units are completed, the West Apartments located in the same area will be torn down and replaced with more apartments with the urban town look. The demolition of the West Apartments will occur within 18 to 24 months after the new units are built. The West Apartments were built in 1974.
Burks pointed out the University needed the additional apartments this fall as the enrollment surged more than five percent.
“We must have these new facilities if we are to keep pace with our rapidly growing student body,” he said. “We must anticipate our needs for the future. Harding already has approximately 800 applications for fall 2012. At that rate we’ll have more than 2,500 applications for the coming school year.”
While the 64 units are being built, another 20 apartments will be constructed on the east side of campus at the Village Apartments. Burks said the additional units at the Village Apartments will have a much more traditional look, identical to the 60 units already in use at that location. The 20 new apartments will be used to house male students.
Cone Construction of Little Rock will mange the construction of the 64 units on the west side of campus. Bids will be opened next week to select the company to build the 20 units on the east side of campus.
Financing for the $12 million project will come from bonds authorized by Searcy’s Public Facilities Board. Rent charged to Harding students to live in the apartments will be the source of income needed to retire the bond issue.