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Dakota Wesleyan's new dorm, Dakota Hall

As the finishing touches are made on a massive mural inside Dakota Wesleyan University's new residence hall, returning students will notice a big difference on campus this year.

Dakota Wesleyan University President Amy Novak sits down in one of the new chairs in the common area of the second floor of the new Dakota Hall dormitory while giving The Daily Republic a tour of the new building. The dedication ceremony for Dakota Hall will be Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 11:30 a.m. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan University President Amy Novak sits down in one of the new chairs in the common area of the second floor of the new Dakota Hall dormitory while giving The Daily Republic a tour of the new building. The dedication ceremony for Dakota Hall will be Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 11:30 a.m. (Matt Gade / Republic)

As the finishing touches are made on a massive mural inside Dakota Wesleyan University's new residence hall, returning students will notice a big difference on campus this year.

Standing tall on the west side of campus rests Dakota Hall at 30,000-square-feet, primed and ready to house 114 returning students.

"With our continued growth here at the university, maintaining good retention is key and having strong residence halls is a very important part of that equation," said DWU President Amy Novak.

Last year's student enrollment was at 918, up 18 students from the previous year's record enrollment. Given the growth the private college has experienced, it's safe to say a new residence hall was necessary.

"We also hope this new residence hall will help attract more incoming freshmen students," said Novak, entering her fifth year as DWU president. "We ran out of space for incoming students last fall, so the new residence hall will help us avoid such a problem."

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Of the increase in last year's enrollment, the campus welcomed 196 traditional freshmen compared to the previous year's 174 incoming freshmen.

The co-ed, sophomore-on-up Dakota Hall will be the fifth residence hall on the DWU campus. It's also the first newly built campus housing quarters since the 2003 University Apartments.

Novak said it mimics the floor plan of the freshmen dormitory Dayton Hall, in part because of the popularity of that residence hall among students. A new parking lot just west of Dakota Hall will also be available in a month, according to Novak.

"Since we started the project in January, it's moved so fast and the only things that won't be fully completed by the upcoming school year are the landscaping and parking lot," Novak said.

Dakota Hall will feature 57 total rooms equipped with air conditioning and heating, TVs in the commons area on all three floors, an elevator system and two private bathrooms in each quadrant.

"Most college dorms have communal bathrooms, so having private bathrooms will make for a great bonus in this residence hall," Novak said.

The residence hall will also have a communal space and a study room on each floor, a kitchenette on first and third floors, a laundry room on second floor and the building is set up for both wired and wireless internet. Puetz Construction is the contractor for the project.

Funding for the $5 million residence hall lies on the shoulders of generous donors.

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"The only time the university takes on debt has been for residence halls because they pay for themselves, and this project has been fully funded by donors," Novak said.

Currently, there are 96 students set to live in the new quarters, but Novak said that number will likely increase to the full capacity of 114 occupants by the Aug. 21 school year start date.

"We are excited to continue our upward trajectory here on campus, and this is a great way to start the school year off right," Novak said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 14 in front of Dakota Hall to dedicate the newest addition on the DWU campus

Related Topics: DAKOTA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
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