New dorm faces construction delays; positive student feedback

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Construction workers work in Wefald Hall on Aug. 30, 2016. (Nick Horvath | The Collegian)

The new Wefald Hall stands on the corner of Denison Avenue and Platt Street. The residence hall, which is named after former Kansas State president Jon Wefald, opened on Aug. 14.

Among the planning and construction, Mark Taussig, project manager of the facilities department, said their main goal was to have students move in this fall and they made that happen.

“Even though the construction is kind of annoying, they do a good job of doing it during the school hours and not over the weekends,” Emily Oldland, freshman in architecture, said.

Construction of the building started in January 2015. It was originally planned to be completed June 1, 2016, yet a delay has pushed several projects back, including renovating the old Kramer Dining Center and building bridges from Kramer to Goodnow Hall and Marlatt Hall.

“It’s a challenge because Crossland Construction is not used to working within those types of restrictions,” Nick Lander, interim associate director of Housing and Dining Services, said. “But we’ve asked them not to work before 10 a.m. so the students aren’t being woken up with loud noises.”

Wefald Hall is the first new residence hall built at K-State since Haymaker Hall, which was built in the 1960s, Lander said.

The dorm has eight floors, of which the first and second floors are dining, public space, laundry and the director’s apartment. The third through eighth floors are the residence hall, which includes 540 student beds, Taussig said.

A big aspect of the project was to maintain the identities of Goodnow and Marlatt halls.

“We wanted to mix a high-end feel but also a high level of comfort, a place where students could really feel at home,” Lander said.

When walking into Wefald, the K-State seal is directly on the center floor. Right across from the elevators on each residential floor are Kansas images, which are from Kansas photographers.

“There are also video boards and interactive maps which will create a more modern twist,” Lander said. “We wanted to look at what people love and keep it K-State.”

Each floor has three communities. Each community consists of 14 double rooms, two single rooms, a study room, a breakout room and bathroom facilities.

“The bathrooms are separate from the resident rooms,” Taussig said. “We put the bathrooms there intentionally to kind of force the students to get out of their rooms. Guys will just play their video games and won’t even leave their room if we keep them together.”

Wefald also has a kitchen on each floor with a stove, oven and fridge for resident use when their not eating in the new Kramer Dining Hall, which is currently open and has eight different food venues, including Mexican, Southwest, Asian and American food, an allergy-free section and wood-fired pizza.

The dining center is open until 7:30 p.m. and in the next few weeks will start “overtime,” in which will be food available after hours.

The old Kramer Dining Center right next door to the new will start hopefully start renovations in the spring, Lander said. It will be reconstructed to include classrooms, offices, a conference center, meeting rooms, a food preparation area and a convenience store.

The completed project will cost approximately $64 million and is student-funded, meaning student fees for housing pay for it by renting rooms and buying meal plans.

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Hi there! My name is Julia and I'm a senior in journalism and digital media with a public relations emphasis. I am copy chief for the Collegian and also edit for the Manhappenin' magazine. My dream is to live in the mountains someday while working for a marketing or publishing company.