McKean and Smith Halls ready for fall move-in
11:33 a.m., Aug. 11, 2006--When the University of Delaware opens its doors to new and returning students on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 26-27, about 500 individuals will move into two new residence halls on Laird Campus.
Thomas McKean Hall and James Smith Hall, the two 250-bed state-of-the-art units, are part of a $72 million project that includes the 500-bed George Read Hall, which opened last August. The residence halls are named for the three signers of the Declaration of Independence who were students of the Rev. Francis Alison in the first class of the New London Academy, to which UD traces its origins.
Work began on George Read Hall in April 2004, and the building was occupied in August 2005. Work on McKean and Smith halls began in June 2005, and was completed in July 2006, representing a 13-month turnaround for the two buildings.
With the completion of the two five-story buildings, the complex will have approximately 1,000 beds, compared to the 750 beds in the former Pencader complex.
George Read Hall houses freshmen, while McKean Hall will have a 60/40 percent ratio of freshmen to upperclassmen, and James Smith Hall will house upperclassmen.
Both McKean and Smith halls offer the same amenities as Read Hall, including resident rooms with semi-private baths, floor lounges, resident assistant rooms and hall director offices and apartments. Floor lounges with 20-foot-high ceilings and balcony and wireless capability serve each cluster of 32 beds.
The new buildings feature off-white walls, vinyl tile floors in residents' rooms, carpeting in halls and lounges, window shades, laundry facilities and individual heat and air-conditioning controls in each room.
“We got a lot of good feedback on George Read Hall,” Penny Person, senior project manager in Facilities Planning and Construction and coordinator of the project, said. “Both students and parents were impressed with the main complex lounge in George Read Hall, as well as the building's wireless and audiovisual capabilities.”
The three new residence halls on Laird Campus are connected with the Ray Street Complex by a new pedestrian footbridge. A 10-minute walk from the Trabant University Center, the new buildings also will be served by shuttle buses to other parts of the Newark campus.
Recreational areas included in the Laird Campus project are a sand volleyball court, a tennis court and two basketball courts, as well as an athletics field to be located between Pencader Dining Hall and the Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware hotel adjacent to Clayton Hall.
Summer construction on the Laird Campus project also includes the repaving of Pencader Drive, the ring road that circles the three new Laird Campus residence halls.
Architect for the project is Ayers/Saint/Gross, and Whiting-Turner Co., is managing the construction. “We have had a very good group of contractors working on this job,” Person said. “We also have received a lot of support, and people have worked together very well.”
Planning also is under way for the construction of a fourth building as part of the Laird Campus project. The 600-bed residence hall would take about 18 months to complete and would be used to house students while an entire complex on east or west campus is renovated.
Photos by Duane Perry