The scaffolding remains wrapped around Animas Hall, but Fort Lewis College officials have big hopes for the residence building.FLC commissioned the $13.5 million project in hopes of improving student recruitment and retention. To that end, it offers spacious "suites" featuring flat-screen TVs, microwaves and refrigerators. Each student will have his or her own bedroom.
Animas Hall is expected to be ready for students' return from summer break in August.
Returning students get priority to live in Animas Hall until May 1, when the option will open to incoming freshmen.
"I'm sure we have more applications than spaces," said Julie Love, director of student housing and conference services.
College officials and journalists toured Animas Hall on Thursday. It is still very much under construction. Phil Brown, project engineer for Okland Construction, said the building is on time and budget.
FLC financed the construction by issuing bonds that will be repaid by residents, said Steve Schwartz, vice president for finance and administration. Living there will cost students $3,450 per semester, the highest rate on campus.
Animas Hall was envisioned as a living-learning center. It includes a classroom, and one faculty member who will teach in the classroom will live full-time in an apartment inside the building.
"It's a pretty nice-sized apartment," Brown said. "I think it's bigger than my condo."
The first faculty member in residence will be Justin McBrayer, a philosophy instructor. McBrayer was chosen through a competitive application process, Love said.
McBrayer will live in Animas Hall along with a residence director and 148 students.
FLC is pursuing environmental certification for Animas Hall by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, known as LEED. The goal for the project was LEED silver, the second-highest rating. But now the project is on track for LEED gold, Love said.
The building also features some sound-deadening features that FLC students can be expected to put to the test.
"You'd have to make a lot of noise to disturb your neighbors," Brown said.
Animas Hall also features wireless Internet and extensive connectivity.