Carson-Newman University to build new residence life complex

Slated to open in 2024, construction project is largest in university’s history

Carson-Newman University students will soon have a new place to call home. Construction of a new residence life complex was given the green light, following approval by the University’s Board of Trustees during their January meeting.

The announcement comes as the University prepares to open a 48,000 sq ft health sciences building this fall, adding momentum to the institution’s 5-year strategic plan – “Acorns to Oaks: Pursuing God’s Preferred Future.” The Drama and Ted Russell Center is the first new academic building at C-N in 15 years.

“I am grateful to our board of trustees and all of those involved in preparing for this new project,” said University President Charles A. Fowler. “I am excited for our students. Receiving feedback and input from them during the planning process was important to us. We wanted a place that would continue to grow a sense of campus community for our students – and that is what this project represents.”

The new residence life facility will be the largest construction project in Carson-Newman’s 172-year history, covering more than 110,000 sq feet. It will be located on the University’s west campus, adjacent to the Appalachian Commons student apartments complex.  C-N is partnering with University Housing Solutions, one of the premier developers in the student housing sector. UHS’s focus on small, private universities makes for an ideal teammate.

“It’s an honor to have been entrusted by Carson-Newman University to build its first new residence hall on campus in decades,” said Meghan Schmidt, vice president of Real Estate at University Housing Solutions. “We’re excited to be a part of history in the making as the University prepares to usher in a new era through student-focused developments like this one.”

Twin living facilities will house 524 beds and will be connected by a two-story “Community Connector”, home to a large gathering and gaming space on the first floor, while study space is designated for the second floor.

“Carson-Newman desires to provide spaces and places for students to live and study that are marked by excellence,” said Fowler.  “This new residence life facility reflects our heart for Christian community and our commitment to excellence.”

By incorporating feedback from students and student panels, plans were developed to include more places to study, laundry on every floor of every wing, and food options. Discussions for food service possibilities continue between student representatives and C-N’s dining services partner.

Security features include keycard access and security cameras. A resident assistant will live on each floor and a residence director will live on site.

The decision to build the facility follows work by an appointed Residence Life Task Team made up of members of the C-N community. It was the team’s established plan that ultimately received Carson-Newman’s Board of Trustees unanimous support.

“The opportunity to serve on the task [team] charged with planning a new residence hall has been a true blessing,” said Derek Driskill, student body president and member of the planning team. “I’ve never seen students this excited about campus and the future of Carson-Newman University.”

Groundbreaking for the residence life complex will begin by the end of the spring semester with the goal of opening doors for students in August of 2024.

The new complex is the next step in modernizing C-N’s campus. The University worked closely with Knoxville-based architectural firm Barber McMurray to map out future construction with a 20-year master plan. The plan provides framework for ambitious development and growth over the next two decades.