A groundbreaking ceremony at 2 p.m. on Dec. 17 will mark the beginning of the construction of an $18 million, 120,000-square-foot residential facility by Nabholz Construction Corp. on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas.

The five-story facility will replace 51-year-old Minton Hall, which has been closed for the past three years due to asbestos and the building’s disrepair. 

According to Diane Newton, vice president of finance and administration at UCA, the maximum occupancy of the dorm will be 385 beds housed in “suite-style” rooms, or two rooms with a connecting bathroom.

“It’s going to be a great facility,” Newton said. “It is being funded through a bond issue that will be used not only for the funding of new hall, but also for renovation work on the additional halls.”

Newton said the “J” shaped building will also include three seminar rooms, two apartments, a large lobby area with a kitchen and laundry and study rooms.

“And that’s just the residential part of the building,” Newton said. 

Newton said $2.2 million in private funds collected by the athletic department will allow for the construction of 12 20-person skyboxes on the facility’s fifth floor.

According to Brad Teague, athletic director at UCA, boxes will be available for lease at a cost of $25,000 a year.
“We are requiring a 10-year commitment,” Teague said, “and eight of the 12 have been committed.”

Teague described the boxes as “exclusive entities,” with private entrances, reserved parking and a separate lobby and elevators.

Amenities include refrigerators and icemakers, counter space, and indoor and outdoor seating.

The building will be located directly behind the visitor’s stands at Estes stadium. The skyboxes will face the west.

Newton said 50,000 bricks taken from Minton Hall will also be used in the construction of the facility.

Another $2 million in improvements will be made to State, Conway, Hughes and Carmichael halls, including updated sprinkler and alarm systems and the construction of additional bathroom facilities.

A special Board of Trustees meeting has been set for 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 1 in Wingo Hall, room 210. The order of business includes the naming of the new residential facility.

(Staff writer Megan Reynolds can be reached by e-mail at megan.reynolds@thecabin.net or by phone at 501-505-1277. To comment on this story and others, visit www.thecabin.net)