July 22, 2014
Story and Photo by Joe Vinduska
Students now have two modern options for living on the Barton County Campus as the brand-spanking new “Bluestem Hall” is ready to house students for the upcoming school year. Move-in day is scheduled for August 16 and 17. The public is invited to a ribbon cutting and after-hours event hosted by the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 in the lobby of the new building, which is south of the Student Union. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be served and tours of the new facility will be given.
Construction started in the summer of 2013 and, aside from a few minor items, is ready to provide a place for students to live while they learn at Barton.
Bluestem Hall adds room for approximately 50 additional residents to the housing complex, bringing the total capacity for housing residents on the campus to 342. The capacity for Bluestem itself is 176.
Barton Coordinator of Student Housing Jonathan Dietz said having up-to-date housing is important for the college.
“I think anytime there is new construction on campus it’s exciting for the students and employees alike,” he said. “In this case the new dorm will update the accommodations for a large number of our students and the design will put our rooms across campus on a more equal footing. This will not only improve the day-to-day quality of life for our current students, but also for Barton as a whole as we continue to recruit future students.”
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman echoed these sentiments.
“The new dormitory situates us well for the future,” he said. “This extends the number of beds so a greater number of students can come to the Barton County campus to pursue their post-secondary education goals.”
Bluestem Hall will offer additional parking, laundry facilities, its own mail room, a common area which will include a TV, seating, an oven and a microwave. The new complex includes a deluxe apartment where the Assistant Housing Coordinator will reside, two mini apartments and a number of single occupancy rooms. There will be 4 rooms that will be ADA accessible. All features and facilities within the dorm will meet current ADA requirements.
The new structure is named after the original housing units that were built in 1977 on the far-east side of campus. It is undecided at this time how the old buildings will be used.