BANGOR, Maine — Husson University students have not been sleeping late this semester or taking afternoon naps.
That nontypical student behavior is a result of the construction of the five-story, $11 million Living and Learning Center being built near the university’s dormitories, Husson President Robert Clark said at a ceremonial beam-signing event. The building also will be energy-efficient.
Clark, members of the board of trustees, representatives of the design and constriction team, faculty, students and representatives of Maine’s congressional delegation gathered Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the progress made on the building, which is scheduled to be completed in August 2012.
The university held the event since it skipped the more traditional groundbreaking ceremony, Clark said. He invited those in attendance to sign what looked like a piece of one of the steel beams being put in place nearby by construction workers. It will be displayed in the lobby of the new building.
“This is an exciting time for Husson University,” Richard Trott, a Husson alumnus and chairman of the board of trustees, said Wednesday. “The benefits to the Living and Learning Center are twofold — it will address our housing shortage and provide unique classroom spaces so that all of our programs benefit from experiential learning.”
Husson rents apartments for about 150 students at nearby complexes because it does not have enough dorm space on campus.
The new building will include dormitory suites for 245 students, according to information released when the project was announced in February. Each suite will include two bedrooms, a combined living and study area and a private bathroom. The living suites will occupy the top four floors of the building; the first floor will include experiential learning classrooms dedicated to specific academic programs, Clark said.
The College of Business will have a space for simulated board meetings and Web-based team analysis. Students taking criminal justice classes will be able to “investigate” mock crime scene scenarios. Counseling students will be able to conduct and record mock counseling sessions so their peers and professors can offer feedback.
“Experiential learning has become a major component to the curricula of Husson’s programs,” Clark said Wednesday. “This hands-on approach provides an opportunity for students to connect the theory learned in lectures to real-life practice, which, alongside internship and clinical experiences, better prepares students for professional careers.”
Before they graduate, three 18-year-old freshmen who signed the beam hope to live together in one of the suites in the new building with a fourth student who was in class during the ceremony. Julya Spadaccini of Azusa, Calif., and Miranda Prescott and Taryn Pineo, both of Corinth, all said they were excited about the construction, even if the work had awakened them before 7 a.m. this semester.
“We’re working to keep our grades up so we can have a suite,” Spadaccini said, referring to one of the criteria that will be used to select residents of the new building. Even with good grades, they may not be selected to live in a suite until they are seniors.
The women now live in Carlisle Hall, a traditional dormitory.
Pineo said that once the trio moves into the new building with their fourth roommate, Desiree Hamler of New Jersey, putting up with the construction noise “will have been worth it.”