New SWU housing community set to transform student experience

CENTRAL — A new four-story living and learning community will soon become a reality on Southern Wesleyan University’s Central Campus.

Southern Wesleyan’s new 67,000 square-foot residence hall will be located on Wesleyan Drive at Southern Wesleyan’s Central Campus across from the Newton Hobson Chapel and Fine Arts Center. The facility will provide comfortable single, dual and triple occupancy suites for 243 students. The floorplan also includes 15,000 square feet of space devoted to amenities that include a large lobby with a bistro and ample gathering space, fitness rooms, a theatre and a conference room. Also included will be laundry facilities, study suites, classrooms and a 200 space parking lot.

“This particular project at Southern Wesleyan University will give students a blend of the academic and social environments they want, and in turn, will keep them more engaged on campus,” said Dr. Todd Voss, president of Southern Wesleyan University.

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Southern Wesleyan University recently presented the first look at an architectural rendering of a new 243-bed residence hall to be constructed on its Central campus. The four-story living and learning community is expected to be completed in August 2017.

Voss said the new housing community is necessary to allow for growth in traditional housing and “will catapult enrollment into the future.”

Southern Wesleyan University has partnered with Mainstreet Student Living of Carmel, Ind., for this new project development. Local developers were approached with the opportunity, but Mainstreet Student Living, the student housing arm of Mainstreet, a national company known for its award-winning transitional care properties, secured this particular project partnership with Southern Wesleyan. A factor that Southern Wesleyan’s administration cited is how Mainstreet encompasses the investment, development and management sides of student housing.

“The missions of Southern Wesleyan University and Mainstreet Student Living align nicely,” Voss said.

As Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ, purposefully designed living and learning spaces for students and faculty are a must. Zeke Turner, founder and CEO of Mainstreet understands this need at SWU and is mission-aligned by desiring to “transform lives,” saying “we look at businesses where there is great opportunity to effect change and real need for innovation.”

Southern Wesleyan seeks to continually reinforce three pillars of uniqueness – inventive learning, faith-filled community and contagious generosity. This new facility on SWU’s campus will be conducive in exercising these institutional characteristics.

Dr. Voss has decades of student life and innovative facility design experience. According to both Voss and Justin Farris, managing director of development at Mainstreet, the traditional college “dormitory model” is “a thing of the past” and students favor more unique housing options.

The project, which represents a $9.3 million investment, will create numerous jobs and expand Pickens County’s economic impact footprint.

Site preparation began in early June, and construction is expected to begin in early July followed by an official groundbreaking ceremony taking place Aug. 30. SWU expects to welcome student residents into this completed facility in August 2017.