UT’s last all-male dormitory could be replaced by a residence hall with more than six times the number of beds, according to Division of Housing and Food Service administrators.
DHFS is considering replacing Creekside Residence Hall with a new dormitory that could include a brand new dining facility and house approximately 1,200 residents.
Hemlata Jhaveri, executive director of DHFS, said the project is just in the planning stages and has not been approved yet.
Jhaveri said as part of the department’s “definition phase,” they need to put together a business plan, come up with project requirements and make decisions about programming for the new building, including things like floor plans, room types, dining options and cost estimates.
“Right now it truly is what I would call a preliminary planning phase,” Jhaveri said. “We have to develop all of those details before we go and ask for permission to build on that site.”
Built in 1955, the dorm would have to undergo significant renovations if DHFS were to keep it as it currently stands. Jhaveri said when they looked at the site, it seemed like a good candidate to do a replacement because it doesn’t take away from any other sites on campus.
As of right now, the department is considering making the new dorm co-ed, but no official decisions have been made.
UT alumnus Joshua Montgomery lived in Creekside for two and a half years. Montgomery said living in Creekside was a life-changing experience from start to finish.
“Creekside’s close and tightly knit community really made me feel like part of a family,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery said there are a number of pros and cons to building a new dorm in Creekside’s place.
“One pro is that the location would finally get some love and attention,” Montgomery said. “Creekside hasn’t gotten any renovations for years. The cons are that, right now, Creekside provides a community space that no other hall provides.”
Uniquely positioned in the northeast section of campus surrounded by Cockrell School of Engineering, Butler School of Music, the Performing Arts Center and the fine arts buildings, Creekside currently houses 190 male residents.
Creekside is almost equidistant from both campus dining facilities, meaning residents have to travel farther to get food than students living in the dorms located in the northern and southern parts of campus. Montgomery said if a new dorm is built, he thinks it should include a full-fledged market and dining facility for convenience.
DHFS worked with University Residence Hall Association and a group of resident assistants last year to get feedback about the project and what they would want out of a new residence hall. The department also has students from both URHA and Student Government currently on the planning committee.
Amanda Quintanilla, astronomy and government junior and former URHA senator, said student input is crucial for a project like this.
“The students are the ones who are going to be living in the new hall if it ends up getting approved and being built,” Quintanilla said. “I know residents with lots of ideas about amenities and features the new hall should have. Hopefully some of those ideas become reality.”
Jhaveri said DHFS is excited to explore the possibilities and will have a firmer grasp on their plans for Creekside by the end of the fall semester.