Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia plans to break ground this month on a 144-bed, $12.6 million student apartment complex.
The complex is set to open in Fall 2022, and 60% of the funding for it has been identified. Gifts are needed for the remaining $5 million.
The university said that it had recorded its highest enrollment in 20 years in 2020 and its highest-ever four-year graduation rate. OBU also launched its first graduate programs in more than 30 years.
“So much is happening at Ouachita that isn’t happening elsewhere with our enrollment growth, high graduation rate, record giving and new undergraduate and graduate programs,” President Ben Sells said in a news release. “It’s happening because of Ouachita’s adherence to its Christian mission and a long history of investment in students by trustees, faculty, staff, alumni, churches and friends. We are ready and capable of rising to this next great moment to strengthen our Christ-centered learning community.”
The new complex will be two buildings divided into six houses. Each three-story house will have six apartments with two double-occupancy bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry room, kitchen and a dining area that opens to the living area. The units will also be fully furnished.
“These new apartments will provide another opportunity for our students to build community while they live together on campus, elevating and enriching the student experience,” Rickey Rogers, dean of students and director of residence life, said in the release. “They will support the university’s continued growth, improve safety and alleviate parking issues.”
The complex is phase two of Project Foresight, an initiative launched three years ago that involves 30 properties on 8 acres on the southwest edge of campus. Many of the properties are vacant and dilapidated.
Phase one was the leasing of land to alumni-owned Pediatrics Plus, a children’s specialty health care clinic, which built a $8 million facility on that land adjacent to the campus. That facility opened in January and the university said it provides services to families with special needs, extends learning opportunities for undergraduate students and serves as a clinical placement site for the university’s new Master of Science degree in applied behavior analysis.
The university also said 97% of its students live on campus, and the new complex caps 15 years of improvements to its housing.
Ouachita’s Student Village was built in 2009; Georgia Hickingbotham and Susie Everett Halls were built in 2010; Kluck Hillside Apartments were renovated in 2018; and Pine Square Apartments, renamed Tatman Corner, were renovated in 2021.
Architects John McMorran and Ryne Pruitt of Lewis Architects Engineers of Little Rock designed the new complex. The general contractor and construction management firm is CDI Contractors of Little Rock.