Weather Forecast


Growing enrollment leads DWU to build $5M residence hall

Construction has begun on Dakota Wesleyan University's campus for a new $5 million residence hall. (Matt Gade / Republic)

After running out of space for incoming students last fall, Dakota Wesleyan University is hoping to avoid facing a similar scenario with its latest building project.

The university has revealed its plans to build a $5 million residence hall facility on the western side of campus. The three-story building will feature 114 beds to accommodate the university's growing enrollment, according to Theresa Kriese, executive vice president at Dakota Wesleyan.

"We have seen some nice growth in the last few years, and so it's time to capitalize on that growth," Kriese said. "It's always a balancing act of when do you build new housing, and how sustainable growth is. And we feel we have a sustainable growth pattern going on now."

Officials are going full speed ahead with the construction of the coed residence facility. A completion date is set for Aug. 1, just in time for the start of the fall 2018 semester.

The reasoning for the "aggressive" schedule, Kriese said, is to avoid the same housing issues the university faced in fall of 2017. With lack of beds for incoming students, the university was forced to create temporary housing.

"We have had to use as many things as would could kind of find around campus for temporary housing, but now we'll have our own, and it'll really make it nice for our students," said Dean of Admissions Fredel Thomas.

Dakota Wesleyan has four residence halls on campus, along with four houses that sit on the perimeter of the university. All of the halls have undergone renovations within the past decade.

Last fall, campus enrollment reached 918, a record for the school. Based on enrollment projections for the upcoming school year, Kriese said enrollment is on the rise once again, and a new residence hall was deemed necessary.

Each floor of the new residence hall will include a community space with a kitchenette for students, according to Kriese.

And it'll be built to the students' liking, Kriese said. When designing the building, students were asked to provide input on amenities and features they'd like to see, including a study space for small group discussions.

The new facility will be home to sophomores and upper-level students, according to Thomas, who said a majority of first-year students will be living in Dayton Hall.

"Students are all abuzz about the new residence hall, and so are our prospective students," Thomas said. "We're having a great amount of enrollment growth with our new freshmen numbers increasing every year. And this is just a testament to that new growth, so we need more places to put students."