SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 9, 2011 — Drury University broke ground on a new, 72-bed, apartment-style housing complex today at the corner of North Summit Avenue and East Calhoun Street. The University Suites housing complex is scheduled to be completed by August 2012 in time for the start of the fall semester.
“It’s in the best interest of our students and the university to have students living on campus,” said Drury President Todd Parnell. “Drury’s goal is to consistently have between 1640-1660 students in the traditional Day School. Having students live on campus increases their engagement while improving and enriching campus life.”
On Oct. 28, Drury’s board of trustees approved the plan for the University Suites housing project. There will be 18, four-bedroom units with four private bathrooms and washers and dryers in every unit. Besides the housing project, Drury will also rehabilitate a house on the property that was once home to early twentieth-century artist and author Rose O’Neill who is best known for creating the Kewpie Doll and was a leading illustrator at the turn-of-the-century. O’Neill once spoke to students at Drury in 1936. The home will serve as a community center for students with space for meetings and small events.
Drury’s artist in residence, Jacqueline Warren, reflected on O’Neill’s legacy, “Rose O’Neill was an American celebrity. She was an author, illustrator, artist and one of the most financially successful people of the twentieth century. Songs and musicals on Broadway were written about her life on Washington Square in New York. She gave away her fortune to family and friends who were poets, artists and musicians. Drury owns her last residence that she purchased for her brother on Summit Street. The rehabilitated home will be a meeting space for students, but also a memorial commemorating her legacy of global engagement.”
O’Neill’s great nephew, David O’Neill, attended the ground breaking. He lived in the house Drury is rehabilitating as a young child and shared the home with his great aunt Rose for a few years before her death in 1944 when David O’Neill was five. “My mother would tell us that we would draw pictures and run upstairs to show them to aunt Rose and she would say, ‘Oh, that’s wonderful.’ Then we’d run downstairs and draw another picture,” David O’Neill said.
The housing will be constructed to Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) specifications, which include standards for water conservation and energy efficiency.
Bryan Properties will construct the housing and Drury will lease it from Bryan Magers. After 25 years, Drury will own the property.
“After reviewing housing surveys from Springfield students, I know what they are looking for most is privacy, security, and a sense of community,” said Bryan Magers. “The University Suites at Drury will offer all of those attributes.
Fact Sheet: University Suites
- 72-bed, apartment-style housing unit. Four bedrooms, four bathrooms and washer-dryers in each unit.
- Built to Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) specifications.
- Six of the bedrooms are designed for handicap access.
- Approximately 50 parking spaces to be built on the site.
- Scheduled to be completed in time for the fall semester 2012.
- Plans for the two houses on the property:
- Northernmost house will be moved or deconstructed.
- Southernmost house, the Rose O’Neill house, will be rehabilitated into a community center for students.
- Developer: Bryan Magers of Bryan Properties.
- Construction Company: Morelock-Ross Builders.
- Architect: Bates and Associates.