Juliana Howser, a freshman at Kennesaw State University, leaves her apartment at U Club on Frey in Kennesaw as she heads to class in August 2019.

Students at Kennesaw State University’s Kennesaw campus could have a new housing choice beginning in the fall of 2022, should the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia sign off on the university’s proposed project.

Officials from the state’s third-largest university have proposed the construction of a $37 million, 514-bed residence hall that would target first-year students, according to documents presented to the Board of Regents’ Committee on Real Estate and Facilities this week.

The Board of Regents could authorize the residence hall proposal sometime early next year, according to Jen Ryan, a spokesperson for the University System of Georgia.

The proposed project site is located on Kennesaw State University Road, adjacent to the existing Austin Residence complex, just north of Chastain Road and west of Frey Road.

KSU has proposed to fund the project through a public-private venture supplemented by a $2 million contribution from KSU auxiliary reserves “to ensure student affordability.”

KSU President Pamela Whitten said multiple studies have shown students who live on campus are more involved in school activities and express greater satisfaction with their undergraduate experience, leading to “increased student success.”

“Living on campus is especially beneficial in helping first-year students transition to college life and build deeper connections with both peers and faculty members,” she said, adding that her university is striving to accommodate all students who want to live on campus.

The documents also showed that KSU’s fall wait list for housing spanned more than 1,500 names, including 1,000 freshmen. University officials say the additional 514 beds proposed would cover less than half of the demand for 1,400 additional beds on the Kennesaw campus. The residence hall would include single- and double-bedroom units, as well as community and study spaces, according to the university’s presentation.

While university officials also noted that rent at the proposed residence hall will be affordable, the presentation did not list price points for the rooms.

University spokesperson Tammy DeMel declined to provide further details, saying it is “too premature to discuss price point.”

The university proposed the housing project the same week that it announced record enrollment at 37,807 students for the fall 2019 semester. That number represents a growth of 6.7%, or 2,387 students, over fall 2018. About 6,500 of fall 2019’s enrolled students were freshmen, according to the university.

KSU students on the Kennesaw campus recently told the MDJ they’d like to see expansions to parking and eateries, saying that long lines form in parking decks and in dining areas all over campus.

In response, DeMel said the university is continually assessing needs on campus, but for now, “we are focused on the new residence hall.”

Renovations to Howell Hall, a dorm at KSU’s Marietta campus have also been proposed, according to Board of Regents documents.

Howell Hall, constructed in 1965, includes 281 beds in 141 units. The proposed renovations would likely leave the number of units unchanged, but would focus on “replacing, or significantly upgrading, the building’s HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems,” according to the documents.

The documents also show that Howell Hall has had “ongoing air quality issues,” and that exterior windows would be replaced to reduce moisture and humidity in the building.

KSU officials estimated the project would cost $12 million and would be funded as a public-private venture with $2.5 million from reserve funds. The target for project completion is fall 2021, according to the university.


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