South Dakota’s largest private university, Augustana University, has made the shift to mixed-grade housing for the 2022-2023 school year with the recent completion of Wagoner Hall designed by St. Louis-based KWK Architects. The growing campus also welcomed its largest first-year student class since 1970 with more than 550 full-time undergraduate students, according to the university’s student newspaper The Augustana Mirror.
The new $16.75 million Wagoner Hall opened in August to students from any grade, as was the case for other residence halls on campus. Freshmen occupy the first floor of new Wagoner Hall and upper class students are on the remaining two floors.
“We have so many different styles of residence halls now, and they come at different price points,” said Augustana University Director of Housing Operations Jenna Bump in The Augustana Mirror article. “Instead of forcing students to be like ‘this is your only option or these are your only two options,’ we’ve kind of opened it up to have all students choose whatever option will work best for them, for their living style, for their price point.”
Construction on Wagoner Hall began in summer 2021 on the south end of the university’s north campus near 33rd Street and Grange Avenue. The L-shaped, three-story hall houses up to 200 students and includes semi-suites with four beds and a bathroom in each unit. A community building at the front of the hall features shared multi-purpose spaces and incorporates living and learning environments for faculty, students and affinity groups on campus. Mortenson was the general contractor on the project.
“The 54,000-square-foot hall is multi-functional for the entire campus community and features flexible classroom space that can be used for programming during the day, then utilized for community interactions in the evenings and weekends. A kitchen and lounge area in the hall further promotes community,” said KWK Principal Paul Wuennenberg.
The university’s new housing plan for the south end of campus is part of a long-term comprehensive plan to transform Augustana’s physical campus. Once these projects are complete, the university will assess their impact, along with the most current enrollment projections to best determine how to proceed with the next phase of the comprehensive plan – a new 75,000-square-foot North Residence Hall for 279 students.