Lakeland celebrates next step in new residence hall project
Lakeland University held a demolition ceremony on Thursday to celebrate the next step in the largest single investment in the main campus in the institution’s 159-year history.
Lakeland is constructing two new residence halls to serve freshman and sophomores, a water tower and related infrastructure. The project is funded by a $35.4 million fixed-rate low interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development division.
The two new, identical residence halls will be located on the area south of the Younger Family Campus Center on the sites currently occupied by decades-old Grosshuesch and Muehlmeier Halls, which are being demolished.
Lakeland estimates that both of the new halls – which will retain the names Grosshuesch and Muehlmeier – will be open for the fall of 2022. The two new halls will provide Lakeland with 400 beds, compared to 291 beds available in the halls they will replace – A.M. Krueger, Muehlmeier, Grosshuesch, Friedli and Hofer (the Suites). The Suites will be demolished at a later time. The future of A.M. Krueger is to be determined.
Following an invocation at Thursday’s brief ceremony by LU Campus Chaplain Julie Mavity Maddalena, speakers included Lakeland President Beth Borgen, LU Board of Trustees Chairperson Jeff Spence ’83, Lakeland Chief Financial Officer Amy Wirtz and Boldt Company Chief Executive Officer Tom Boldt. The Boldt Company is serving as the general contractor for the project.
Each speaker then took a swing at a chunk of one of the halls with a gold sledgehammer.
Spence recalled that he lived in Grosshuesch Hall when he was a freshman. “This construction site is surreal to me,” he said. “My time here was a blessing. This project is an opportunity to create future memories for future Lakeland students.”
Boldt said his company was pleased to again partner with Lakeland on an important campus improvement.
“Higher education is a very important part of the future of our country,” Boldt said. “Lakeland has a unique responsibility for all of the students who come to this campus through the experiences they have and the relationships they build with each other, Lakeland faculty and staff.
“These formative years that create the leaders of the future are vitally important. While this may be a dormitory, imagine the types of experiences students have. There are important parts of a residential campus that not all students have an opportunity to experience.”
Along with the additional, updated housing for students, each new hall will provide resident support functions including front desk area, vending, lounge spaces, kitchenettes, study rooms, gender-neutral bathrooms, laundry facilities, recycling centers, bottle-filling station and more.
Each building will have a basement to provide resident storage space and unfinished square footage for the ability to build out additional resident program space in the future. Lakeland will also create space on campus for use by student organizations, including Greek Life.