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Cooler days ahead for Dossett residence hall

By Lorelei Goff
On February 5, 2014

  • Annie Buckles

Installation of a $900,000 heating and air-conditioning system in Dossett Residence Hall will be completed this summer as part of the housing department's longterm plans to make campus housing attractive to students.
The air-conditioning system that will be installed in Dossett Resident Hall will be similar to those installed in Powell and West halls last summer.
"It's a system in which each room has its own heating and cooling unit that can be individually controlled," said Ian Watson, Tennessee Board of Regents construction representative. "In Dossett Hall, each individual dorm will have its own wall unit that provides heat and cooling, and those are all piped back to outdoor units."
The project is a top priority in the ongoing ETSU Department of Housing and Residential Life's renovation plan, which is being funded by a $2.7 million state bond. The budget for renovations is set by the prospective rental income from the residence halls.
"We do not get state funds," said Bonnie Burchett, Department of Housing and Residence Life director. "We do not get tuition money. We don't get tax money. We have to operate totally on student rent. We have to be able to pay this back."
The bidding process is expected to begin soon and university officials anticipate that bids for the project will be in by March.
"We've just completed the process where we've reviewed the design documents and we're almost ready to put it out to bid," Watson said.
Dossett is the last East Tennessee State University residence hall to be air-conditioned. Other renovations included in this summer's renovation plan are new roofs for Carter Hall and Davis apartments and new tile in the stairwells in Powell, West and Clement halls. Projects may be added or dropped, depending on the amount of bids.
"We have to see how the bids come in and we can't over spend," Burchett said. She added, "If it came in over bid, we'd have to value engineer and see what projects that we would take out, and we'd definitely prioritize the ones that we'd keep in."
She expects work on the project will begin the week after graduation and be completed by the first week of August. Students who remain on campus during the summer will be moved to other buildings while the work is being done. Burchett believes the addition of air conditioning will make the university more competitive in marketing campus housing to prospective students, because students look at the quality of housing facilities as one of the factors in choosing in a school, she said. "Students shop. They have options to how they want to spend their money.
"Our goal is to try to give them the best facility possible, but still that competitive, affordable cost."

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