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Clayton State housing facility rising from the ground

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Clayton State University's first housing facility is starting to take shape less than a month after school officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the facility.

The construction is part of a $38 million, one-year project scheduled for completion next August. It will not only will provide housing, but also a new student activity center.

The site along Clayton State Boulevard was cleared of trees in July.

By late August, the pipes were laid to provide water and a sewage system to the future building.

The foundation is now in place, an elevator shaft is being erected, and the steel frames of the walls are being constructed and put into place.

"Construction is coming along really well," said Jeff Jacobs, associate dean of students. "The housing has started to come out of the ground, and it is still on target to be completed on time. Everybody around campus is like 'Wow, this is really happening.' "

The housing facility is one of CSU's three construction projects that are scheduled to be completed by August of 2008. In addition to student housing, the university is also building a student activity center, and a new home for the business school.

On-campus housing has been on the university's radar since the 1990's, when Richard Skinner was Clayton State's president, but it began to pick up steam in 2006 after Brian Haynes was hired as the vice president of student affairs.

The 451-bed housing facility will be home to freshman men and women. It will also include a convenience store, laundry facility, post office, game room, wireless internet, cable TV, and meeting space for students.

In February, officials presented a market study to the University System of Georgia's Board of Regents. It showed a need for over 800 beds at CSU.

As the university' first housing complex takes shape, officials are looking at all departments to see what services, such as public safety and campus recreation, will need to be altered for on-campus residents.

Fitness training is one example of a service that will be impacted when the construction projects are completed. SmartBodies, which recently merged with the department of recreational sports, expects a higher demand.

The activity center, which will include a larger fitness area than the makeshift facility that now exists, will need more equipment. Cindy Lauer, the director of SmartBodies, said she has already put together a wish-list for the activity center.

The designs for the center call for two high-school-sized basketball courts, a 2,000-square-foot aerobics room, a 600-square-foot aerobics room, and a balcony overlooking the basketball courts. The balcony will be for patrons to use cardiovascular equipment, such as rowing machines, stationary bikes and treadmills.

"This is really going to help us expand the fitness-related services we can provide to our students," Lauer said.