Despite losing an entire month of the already fast-tracked schedule due to the harshest winter West Virginia has seen in decades, Choate Construction, the Ambling Companies, and Niles Bolton Associates completed West Virginia State University’s Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Hall just in time for the students to move in for the new school year. Around-the-clock crews worked to put the finishing touches on this student housing complex days before the ribbon cutting. And while the schedule was grueling, the result is something of intense pride for the team: a stunning project completed on time and with zero accidents.
The Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Hall student housing building sits on the main campus green of West Virginia State University, conveniently located between the student union and campus quad. Within the 88 residential units capable of housing 291 students, there are 10 apartment units for graduate students and research assistant from around the world and 78 single occupancy, suite-style dorms.
To make way for Scholars Hall, existing Prillerman Hall (apartment style housing) and Gore Hall (suite style housing) are demolished. Upon clearing of the site, the four-story Hall is constructed of wood frame with precast, hollow-core collegiate gothic campus architecture.
Each apartment unit includes a full kitchen and living room; the suite-style units contain a small common area. All have semi-private bathrooms inside the unit. Building amenities feature five separate, shared laundry facilities, large meeting room with capacity for 150 people, coffeehouse café, lounge and game room, and study lounge.
A large cast stone arch, decorative brick pavers, and a brass campus seal accent this main pedestrian portal. The rain garden adjacent to the building handles any runoff. At the south end of the project site, a Greek monument park is constructed to provide a centralized location for all of the Greek organization monuments that are currently located throughout the campus.
Because the site is landlocked in the center of campus with no direct vehicle access, careful coordination of construction traffic across the active, main campus quad is critical.