Construction of new CSB Centennial Commons townhomes underway

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October 12, 2011

Groundbreaking participants, left to right: Roger Gertken, Sand Companies, Inc; Ted Lindberg, Sand Companies, Inc.; Jody Terhaar, CSB dean of students; Rick Schultz, mayor, City of St. Joseph; Ryan Gideon, Sand Companies, Inc.; Nathan Miller, DLR Architects; Shelby Wentworth, CSB director of residential life; Mary Beth Thompson, CSB director of residential life; Tom Schlough, CSB trustee; Beth Dinndorf, CSB trustee; Mary Ann Baenninger, CSB president; Annette Hendrick, CSB trustee; Darin Dirkes, Sand Companies, Inc.; Dana Badgerow, CSB trustee; S. Michaela Hedican, OSB, prioress, Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict; Madison Armstrong, CSB senior; Sue Palmer, CSB vice president for administration and finance; and Leo Sand, President, Sand Companies, Inc.

The sounds of saws buzzing and hammers pounding will soon echo across the College of Saint Benedict campus.

On Friday, Oct. 7, ground was broken for the construction of Centennial Commons, a 124-bed housing complex for upper-class CSB students, which will open in time for fall 2012 classes. It is named in honor of CSB's upcoming centennial in 2013.

The $8 million project, located at the corner of College Avenue and Calloway Street across from the main campus, will consist of four eight-unit townhome style buildings and one community center building. There will be a total of 31 four-bedroom two-story units with two full baths, laundry facilities, full kitchen with dining space, living room, storage space and shared front porches.  There will be an additional two-bedroom apartment for the live-in professional residence director. The units will be air-conditioned.

The community center will provide multi-purpose rooms for programming and student gatherings as well as a kitchen, fitness room, a computer lab, small-group study rooms and an office for the residential life staff. The community center will be available to all students.

"CSB's residency requirement prompted the need for additional on-campus housing," said Jody Terhaar, CSB dean of students.  "With this additional housing, more than 90 percent of CSB students will reside on campus."

"We've taken the needs of our junior and senior women into consideration in the design. There is plenty of private space, yet ample common space for impromptu and planned get-togethers or study sessions," Terhaar noted.

The building is being built to "meet the standards of at least silver certification" in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) classification, according to Judy Purman, CSB's director of sustainability.

The complex is being built to a 100-year life and the design engineering is as efficient as possible  -  high efficiency windows and furnace, natural daylight harvesting, low-flow plumbing, exterior LED light fixtures, etc. There will also be native plantings that will hopefully cut back on the need for turf, Purman explained. 

 "Also, we will 'source locally' and choose vendors as close to Saint Ben's as possible for wood, furniture, carpeting," she noted. The interior materials, such as carpet, will have highly recycled content. 

One unique feature is that each unit will be individually metered for gas, electricity and water usage."Each apartment will receive a 'mock' bill so that the residents will understand what their actual usage is," Purman explained.  "This is a life skills learning opportunity. We're integrating an educational component so that they will understand what it's like to pay gas, water and electricity bills when they leave campus.

"We are putting into practice what we preach - energy conservation, supporting local businesses," Purman said. "This project is a great teaching tool and integral part of CSB's sustainability master plan."