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Students, others get sneak peek of new residence hall

Students take a look at an unfinished room in The Commons that will serve as a multipurpose common area once the new residence hall opens in late summer.

On April 26, the University of North Georgia (UNG) offered a sneak-peek tour of its newest residence hall, The Commons, a 540-bed facility set to open this fall on the Dahlonega Campus.

While the official ribbon-cutting isn't until July 28, groups that included students, university staff and administrators, and local government officials took tours of the nearly completed facility.

touring The Commons
Ron Larson, Dahlonega councilman and business faculty member  at UNG,
tours a sample student room in The Commons during a sneak peek tour
of the new residence hall.

"UNG is excited about our partnership with Corvias Campus Living, which is providing this much-needed housing on the Dahlonega Campus," said Treva Smith, director of residence life at UNG. "Choate is constructing a beautiful residence hall for our students. The Commons is filling quickly with both new and returning students for the fall, and several of our students were excited to see it today."

The $17.9 million residence hall is located at the intersection of West Main Street and Walker Drive in Dahlonega – across the street from the UNG Dining Hall. To follow the progress of the project, view Live Webcam 1 and Live Webcam 2.

The project brings the total number of residence halls on the Dahlonega Campus to nine, including Donovan Hall, Lewis Annex, Lewis Hall, North Georgia Suites, Owen Hall, and the military residence halls Liberty, Patriot and Gaillard.

The four-story Commons, which has 118,268 gross square footage, will feature suite-style living and offers amenities such as study rooms on each floor, laundry rooms, community kitchens, interactive multimedia rooms and upgraded Wi-Fi technology. Additionally, the "Greet" area is a unique entryway that encourages involvement and socialization by offering informal study and meeting space as well as student-staff interaction.

Enrollment on the Dahlonega Campus has grown steadily from 3,863 students in fall 2001 to 7,029 students in fall 2015. Until The Commons opens, UNG's Dahlonega Campus can house 2,230 students in on-campus housing, including 782 cadets. The new residence hall addresses a housing shortage on the Dahlonega Campus.

Under the agreement with Corvias Campus Living, UNG owns the land where The Commons is being built. Corvias will finance, construct and maintain the building, allowing the university to focus on residence life services and security.

Corvias assumed management of UNG's existing 314-bed Owen Hall residence hall in July and has started on capital improvements including replacing appliances, upgrading Wi-Fi and painting the exterior of the building. The work is included in some $330,000 in capital improvements Corvias will make to UNG residence halls that also include energy efficiency upgrades, replacing air conditioning and water heater units, and installing new carpeting.

Jimmy Scott, who as portfolio director for Corvias has oversight over the company's contracts with nine University System of Georgia institutions, praised the partnership with UNG.

"We've been very excited to work with them from day one, from the design efforts to beginning construction," Scott said. "Early on it rained quite a bit, so the teams pulled together and figured out how to keep this thing moving. And you can see us today we're on schedule, everything's looking great and we'll open up in July."

The goal of the partnership is to ensure that students have a positive on-campus living experience that is conducive to academic success.

Statewide, Corvias Campus Living is funding $548 million dollars to build the new housing and to retire the debt on the existing housing for nine institutions in the University System of Georgia. About $325 million will be used to retire the University System's existing debt on current, existing student housing. The residence hall project at UNG is part of USG's $517 million plan for Corvias Campus Living to develop 3,733 new beds by fall 2016 and manage 6,195 existing beds of on-campus housing for nine institutions with the USG for the next 65 years.

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