First Year Village Construction Continues; Barnes Campbell Demolition Scheduled
- Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020
Western Kentucky University prepares for the final phases of the new “First Year Village” construction with the planned demolition of Barnes Campbell Hall.
Demolition of Barnes Campbell Hall is slated to begin the first week of January to allow for the completion of the $48 million living learning complex. The complex encapsulates all the current residence halls on the south end of campus and includes two new pod-style residence halls. The project is part of a 10-year strategic plan to optimize the on-campus living experience for current and future students. Demolition is expected to take 90 days.
Construction of two new residence halls creates the centerpiece for the First Year Village. Building One, “Normal Hall,” will house 260 students, while Building Two, “Regents Hall,” will house 375 students. All students in the new buildings will participate in living-learning communities, and each hall will contain unique programming spaces, including public classrooms, study rooms, sound-proof music practice rooms, a dining location, and more. Normal Hall is expected to be completed by the end of November 2020.
Mike Reagle, Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement, said the First Year Village will connect students with similar academic and social interests through WKU’s Living Learning Programs and through the well designed spaces within the halls. The two buildings will feature pod-style housing with 25 students per pod who share amenities such as bathrooms, common spaces and a resident assistant.
“Students will also have faculty, staff and student mentors to help them navigate through the first year and matriculate successfully to the second, setting them on a path to complete their programs in a timely manner,” Dr. Reagle said. “It is important to connect the time spent in the classroom with the 150 hours per week students spend outside of the classroom to ensure they take full advantage of the WKU experience.”
The area that Barnes Campbell Hall currently sits on will become part of a large park-like green space, creating a greater community atmosphere. The green space will be an ongoing project with new developments added throughout time.
The design of the new halls features large windows in the community spaces, creating large “lanterns” for the south side of campus.
Construction on the halls began last fall following demolition of Bemis Lawrence Hall. Barnes and Bemis opened in 1966 and had reached the end of their useful service life.
During the fall 2020 semester, Barnes Campbell has been used as the quarantine location for on-campus students who have been contact traced or tested positive for COVID-19. With the removal of Barnes Campbell Hall, quarantine locations will be available in the campus cottages and Bates-Runner Hall.
The First Year Village is expected to open to students in Fall 2021.
“We’re excited by this addition to our portfolio of housing options,” Dr. Reagle said. “The First Year Village fits well into the University’s Strategic Plan by providing the kind of experience that will make our students successful.”
WKU Housing & Residence Life plans to live stream the "first bite" of the Barnes Campbell Hall demolition on its Facebook page.
Contact: Bob Skipper, (270) 745-4295