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George Read Hall completed on schedule

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The new horseshoe-shaped building with north and south wings, features resident rooms with semi-private baths, floor lounges and resident assistant rooms.

3:34 p.m., Aug. 23, 2005--George Read Hall, UD’s new, state-of-the-art residential facility has been completed on schedule, and students have started moving in. The 500-bed unit is the first of the three new Georgian-style residence halls on the Laird Campus that will replace the motel-style Pencader complex.

The new horseshoe-shaped building with north and south wings, features resident rooms with semi-private baths, floor lounges and resident assistant rooms. The ground floor includes exquisitely furnished lounges, laundry room, apartments for two hall directors (one in each wing) and an apartment for the Laird Campus Complex coordinator.

The LIFE (Learning Integrated Freshman Experience) program’s living and learning offices will be located in the new building. The two other 250-bed buildings are scheduled for completion in August 2006. Altogether the new buildings will encompass approximately 313,000 gross square feet.

“This is a large and very bold project. It is designed to make more convenient and pleasurable the experiences of all of the students who reside on the Laird campus and others who visit that part of the campus,” UD President David P. Roselle said.

“George Read Hall is the first, and, with approximately 500 beds, the largest of three new dormitories that are being added to the Laird Campus,” Roselle said. “When completed, all 15 of the Pencader buildings will have been removed, there will be playing fields and courts at the site and there will be a pedestrian bridge from the Laird Campus to Ray Street.

“The new complex will have approximately 1,000 beds, compared to the 750 Pencader beds. The exterior of George Read Hall embodies architectural features of the buildings on the Green. The interior is also attractive, with many amenities and with provision for LIFE, the largest of the University of Delaware's freshman year experience programs,” Roselle said.

“We had a great team in the architect, the construction management firm and trade contract firms, and that is what it takes to make it a successful project,” Penny Person, senior project manager in Facilities Planning And Construction and coordinator of the $72 million project, said of the construction project.

The ground floor of George Read Hall features large public lounges.
“I'm very pleased with George Read Hall and hope that the students also will be pleased with their new accommodations,” David Hollowell, UD’s executive vice president and treasurer, said. “George Read Hall was certainly the ultimate renovation of Pencader, and I'm looking forward to the completion of the other two buildings and the completion of the Pencader demolition. The design team from Ayers/Saint/Gross did a great job with the design, and Whiting-Turner did an outstanding job completing construction in less than 15 months, working with Penny Person.”

Hollowell’s work includes directing a comprehensive, $800 million campus renewal and expansion program comprising more than 3.3 million square feet. Earlier this year, he was named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The Laird Campus project also includes a new walkway and footbridge between the Ray Street and Laird complexes, and the sidewalks on the east side of North College Avenue are to be widened. Much of the structure for the footbridge is being installed this summer with completion scheduled for next summer.

The George Read Complex will house freshman students and upperclass George Read mentors in double- and single-room suites. Two small groups of upperclass spaces will be available.

The new building, which is 10-minute walk from the Trabant University Center, features off-white walls, vinyl tile floors in residents’ rooms, carpeting in halls and lounges, window shades and laundry facilities. It also has individual heat and air conditioning controls in each room, lounges for each cluster of 32 beds and a large public lounge in each wing. The complex will be served by shuttle buses to classes every 15 minutes.

Access to living space in both the north and south wings of the building is limited to residents only, while the complex coordinator's office, complex community council office and the complex lounge on the ground floor of the north building is open to all George Read Hall residents. Pencader students will be issued a separate access card and also will have access to common spaces in the new complex.

Article by Martin Mbugua
Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson

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