The University of Central Arkansas will host an open house for its newest residence hall and living and learning community on from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13.

The open house for Bear Hall and Entrepreneurship, Public Scholarship, Innovation, Community Engagement (EPIC) Residential College will have guided tours for the public.

Bear Hall, a 120,000-square-foot, five-story facility, opened to students in August. It includes 385 beds, three seminar rooms, two apartments, a large lobby area with a kitchen and laundry and study rooms. The $18 million project was funded through a bond issue. It will be the university’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building. Bear Hall is designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving sustainability and efficiency.

"Bear Hall is a terrific addition to our campus, not only because it adds a significant number of high quality rooms to our array of residence halls, but also because it is truly a multipurpose facility," said Steve Runge, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs.

The residence hall composes most of the facility, with the first, second and third floors occupied primarily by freshman students. The fourth floor houses the Athletics Administration offices and EPIC Residential College.

The fifth floor features twelve 20-person skyboxes. The skyboxes were built with private funds raised by the university’s Athletics Department. The residential hall is located behind the visitor’s stand at Estes Stadium.

"The project itself has visually complemented the rest of the stadium and campus. The impact is recognized immediately and we are very pleased," said Brad Teague, director of athletics. "The luxury suites enhance our image and provide needed premium seating for our great fans and donors in this community. The project has been a joint effort among housing, academics, and athletics and the end result has been very positive for all three."

EPIC Residential College is a multi-disciplinary program that is a collaboration between the College of Business, the College of Fine Arts and Communication and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at UCA. The college is for students entering their sophomore through senior year, according to a news release.

The program enriches the student living and learning experience at the university, and it is designed to be one of the most unique and transformative residential learning communities in the nation, UCA officials said previously. Students from various disciplines including business, science and technology, and the fine arts will live, work and tackle real-world challenges that will have both commercial and community impact.

"We have recruited a number of partners from the local community to work with the students, one of the most important of which is PrivacyStar, a rapidly expanding start-up company in Conway," Runge said. "The student teams will be given a lot of freedom to explore and we anticipate that they will generate innovative ideas to address problems that they identify independently. Of critical importance, these students will not only innovate, but they will learn how to communicate to a broad audience such that they truly do become public scholars."

To learn more about EPIC Residential College, visit uca.edu/epic. Additional information about Bear Hall can be found at uca.edu/bearhall.