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Posted: May 2, 2013 8:11 p.m.

Oxford to break ground on new hall

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(From left) Warren Brook, Oxford College alumni; Joe Moon, dean for campus life; Stephen Bowen, Oxford College Dean; Michele Sheets, assistant dean for campus life and residence life director; and student Lupe Monterosso, participate in a symbolic...

Students, faculty and members of the community participated in a ceremonial ground-breaking for a new residence hall at Oxford College.

The ceremony marked the start of construction on the new residence hall. Actual construction on the 206-bed facility will begin in June.

The building, which has yet to be officially named, will be built on the north side of Hamill Street, between Haygood Avenue and Emory Street.

It is across the street from East Village residence hall, completed in 2008, whose design the structure compliments, according to a news release from the college.

Michele Sheets, assistant dean for campus life, said the new building is replacing Branham and East Hall (two residence halls that are connected by a lobby), which currently holds 204 students.

She said Branham and East Hall will be demolished next summer to make room for a new science center.

The college initially looked at renovating Branham and East Hall as opposed to building a new residence hall, but determined it wasn’t achievable.

“We went through feasibility studies and worked with architects and different things for different designs, [but decided] it would be more cost effective and it would lift a lot of the physical constraints that we had if we would just build a new building,” Sheets said.

“You can imagine that when you are renovating something, you’re restricted by the physical layout of the building, so a lot of the things we wanted to do, we weren’t actually able to,” Sheets said. “The decision was made to just go ahead and demolish it and build a new one.”

The new residence hall has been in design for several months.

Students were asked for input, including room configurations, locations for amenities and layout of gathering spaces.

The design includes a third-floor outdoor patio social area, a gourmet kitchen and a media room for presentations, video gaming and film-watching.

“A residence hall is more than a place to sleep,” said Joe Moon, dean for campus life, during the ceremony. “It is where students study — separately and in groups — and a comfortable place to gather socially to build friendships. In essence, the residence hall is their college home. We want this new building to be a place of comfort for our students to assist them in achieving their educational goals.”

Cooper Carry is the architectural firm which designed the new residence hall, and the construction will be done by Brasfield & Gorrie, both of Atlanta.

The new residence hall is expected to be completed next summer, in time for fall semester move-in.

The cost of the new residence hall has not been finalized, Sheets said.

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