Work begins on new Worth Hills residence halls
by Rick Waters
After months of site work during the summer, construction of two new residence halls is beginning to emerge from the ground at the corner of Bellaire Drive North and Stadium Drive.
The halls, which are expected to open in August 2013, will accommodate 400 sophomores and upperclassmen in mostly suite-style units. The new structures represent the first of a multi-phase plan to overhaul the Worth Hills section of campus, including new housing for fraternity and sororities, plentiful green space and a dining facility, said Craig Allen, director of Housing & Residence Life.
In essence, TCU hopes what the Campus Commons has done for main campus, the planned makeover will do for Worth Hills, Allen said. “The Campus Commons created a downtown for TCU, and by most accounts, did so very successfully: Students hang out there. They eat there. Groups meet there. Events happen there. And it all used to be a parking lot,” he said. “In the same way, the center of Worth Hills currently is a parking lot. We’re going to follow the model we used for the Commons and move parking to the perimeter, so that the center has a series of small quads and lawns. Think of it as a TCU student neighborhood.”
The two halls already under way are separate structures and not connected, Allen said. However, an archway similar to the one at the Brown-Lupton University Union, will appear to bridge them and create a grand entry into Worth Hills.
The halls will be patterned after residence halls that flank the Campus Commons but will have slightly different floor plans, he said. They’ll feature modern kitchens and baths, wireless access, cable television and energy-efficient systems.
“There will be a lot of single rooms but also some doubles,” he said.
Future phases may include the construction of new housing for fraternities and sororities, a dining facility and a parking garage.
“My hope is Worth Hills will have similar feel as Commons,” he said. “People will walk through archway and instead of parking, there will be trees and big lawns and will feel like a neighborhood.”
Under the university’s Vision in Action: Academy of Tomorrow goals, TCU aims to increase the percentage of students living on campus. With the planned additions, Worth Hills would increase from about 780 beds to about 1,800 and push the total campus bed count to more than 5,300, which would account for two-thirds of undergraduates.
Then what? It depends on demand. The additions largely would eliminate the current wait list, but Allen points out that as the quality of housing improves, demand increases.
“Based on the new demand we saw after the Commons was finished, I would not be surprised if we see another surge when Worth Hills is finished,” he said. “Chancellor Boschini has said that we will continue to add housing until demand is met.
“The incoming class of 2016 has 53 percent of students from out of state. The thing I hear from parents from all over the country is that they want their students to have on-campus housing. So I don’t see any reason that demand is going to slow down.”