The design of Central Oregon Community College's new $22 million residence hall is nearing completion, though the college directors do not anticipate approving construction until January.
The dorm will be located about 500 feet east of Mt. Washington Drive, just to the west of the college soccer field. The building will be composed of three wings that step down Awbrey Butte, varying in height from five to three stories. The college plans to preserve as many trees as possible around the dorm.
“We are trying to settle the building into the site so it is not intrusive and we can maintain sight lines,” said COCC President Jim Middleton. “When you look from the campus center over the track, you can still see the mountains. The trees will help shield the building from neighbors and the road.”
The dorm will initially be accessible only off Mt. Washington Drive, though the city of Bend mandated additional access off College Way by 2018. The university is waiting to complete a comprehensive traffic study before siting the second access road. The city additionally required the college to build a left-turn lane off Mt. Washington Drive, which will cost the college $60,000.
“The city believes that the lane will contribute to traffic calming,” Middleton said.
The dorm will contain 330 beds, including a resident director apartment and 10 resident assistant rooms. Most students will be housed in one of 70 “quad double” suites, which contain two bedrooms with two beds each, a private bathroom and a small common area. There will also be 10 quad singles, where each student has a private room in addition to the shared space.
“The rooms are set up so that there are a variety of arrangements students can choose to personalize their space,” said Kurt Haapala, principal of Mahlum Architects, the Portland-based firm in charge of the project.
The building will be divided into 10 communities of 33 students and one resident assistant, each of which will be housed on one floor of a wing. Each community will have common areas for studying and socializing. The building will have additional shared space located near the entrance, including a high-ceilinged lounge, game room and flex room.
“The flex room could support group studying, but it could also be used to support summer conferences or professors who want to give lectures,” Haapala said.
Students will have access to 150 parking spots, a number that administrators believe is more than adequate based on the rate of parking at the college's existing dorm.
“We could have saved money by cutting down the parking, but wanted to ensure that students wouldn't need to park in the neighborhood,” Middleton said.
The college has proceeded with a construction manager-general contractor method, which allows the school to set a guaranteed maximum price the contractor is able to charge, which is determined based on available design documents. On Wednesday the college board voted to spend $130,000 to fund a portion of the required drafting documents, which will allow the contractor to offer a maximum price that includes less risk than one based on the more preliminary documents currently available.
The college hopes that with more information, the contractor will be able to drop its maximum price from $16.4 million to the target construction price of $16 million. If the college were to approve the dorm at any point, it would still have to pay for drafting documents. By moving ahead now with the documents, the college will be able to stay on track for a summer 2015 completion. The only risk comes from the possibility of the board not approving the dorm, in which case the construction documents would not be put to use.
The board aims to vote on approving the dorm in January, at which time 25 percent of the construction documents will be completed and the contractor will have a revised maximum price.
The college plans to fund the construction with full faith and credit obligation bonds, which will be paid back using revenue generated from students living in the dorm.