Dordt unveils new housing and dining plans

Daniel Ketchelos — Staff writer

On Feb. 9, Dordt University President Erik Hoekstra announced plans for new construction projects on campus. These projects, including a new dining commons and upperclassmen housing buildings, are set to begin construction in the next few months.

The new apartment buildings will be built south of the Southview Apartments and will house up to 96 students across four apartment buildings. There are also plans to add 62 additional parking spaces to campus. Construction will begin in March 2023 and is set to be completed by August 2023.

“From what I saw on the designs, it looks really cool considering that each apartment is two stories,” junior Logan Posthumus said. “I’m not sure if building them [the apartments] should be the necessary thing to start unless East Campus is turning into freshman and sophomore housing.”

Currently, Dordt has three options for upperclassmen housing including East Campus Apartments (48 apartments), Southview Apartments (28 apartments), and Kuyper Apartments (34 apartments). The new apartments would provide additional housing for 96 more upperclassmen students.

“I’m hopeful about the new apartments,” Posthumus said. “Maybe having more of a kitchen space or a living room, and I would like to have a dishwasher. I think that would be convenient, especially for guys.”

Dordt also has plans to build a new dining Commons to replace the current Commons. The new dining Commons would be between the Campus Center and B.J. Haan Auditorium. Both of these buildings will be connected together through the new dining Commons allowing students to remain indoors when walking from building to building.

“Heading towards the April [2023] board meeting we are going to be seeking approval from the board of trustees to put a spade in the ground for the new dining commons,” Hoekstra said. “Our advancement department has done a great job raising some money for that we’ve got alternative financing with the United States Department of Agriculture, but we anticipate starting on that this summer.”

The new dining Commons will seat up to 400 people for meals in the main hall, and an additional 200 in the banquet hall on the second floor for overflow seating. This would allow up to 600 total seats in the new commons compared to 417 seats in the current Commons. There are also plans to add a small recital hall to the East side of the B.J. Haan Auditorium. The anticipated completion date is sometime in 2025 for these projects.

“I’m excited to get the new Commons done. We are going to have so many great opportunities with different food options in different areas to offer,” Mindi Sneller, the Food Service Director for Dordt Dining, said. “One thing I’m very excited about is we have created a specific line which is going to be a one-stop location for students with food issues. It’s going to be a one-stop shop for them and it’s going to be very safe [for people with food allergies].”

In response to an interview request, Robert Taylor, the Vice President for Student Success and Dean of Students, declined to interview. Taylor stated the following in response:

“We will offer all students an opportunity to many details about this project very soon! We plan to have an evening event where we talk about the project, show flythroughs of the renderings, answer questions, etc.,” Taylor said. “As a means of saving as much as possible for the official unveiling, we would prefer not to share details with anyone until after the event.”

More information on this event will be released in the upcoming weeks.

Contributed photo

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