|The University of Houston-Victoria’s new residence hall, Jaguar Suites, is ready for sophomores and upperclassmen to move in Wednesday. The $11.5 million, 82,000-square-foot residence hall has 54 suites, and includes a fitness center, swimming pool, study areas and computer labs. A ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours will take place at 4 p.m. Monday, and the public is invited.|
The University of Houston-Victoria’s progression to a residential campus will take a leap forward next week with the opening of the university’s first newly constructed residence hall.
UHV students, faculty, staff and local business leaders will celebrate the opening of Jaguar Suites Monday with a Victoria Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony. The festivities will start at 4 p.m. in front of Jaguar Suites, 2703 Houston Highway. The public is invited, and tours and refreshments will be offered.
“The opening of Jaguar Suites is another milestone in UHV’s evolution as a residential university,” UHV President Phil Castille said. “The three residence halls that comprise Jaguar Village will bring our capacity to more than 600 beds to house students.”
Students will start moving into Jaguar Suites on Wednesday. The $11.5 million, 82,000 square-foot residence hall has 54 suites, a fitness center, swimming pool, and computer labs and study areas on every floor.
Each of the suites will house four sophomores or upperclassmen. The suites are furnished and include a flat screen TV with free cable and Wi-Fi. Each suite has a shared living area and kitchenette with a refrigerator, microwave, cabinets and sink.
Ashley Furniture HomeStore in Victoria donated furniture for the first floor lobby, as well as small social lounges on each floor. As the official furniture sponsor of UHV’s residence halls, the store previously donated furniture for Jaguar Hall and Jaguar Court. For its continued support of the residence halls, Ashley Furniture HomeStore was honored with the UHV Community Business Partnership Award during the 2011-2012 President’s Annual Report and Excellence Awards ceremony in November.
“Once students get a look at Jaguar Suites, it won’t take long for them to want to live there,” said Moses Olukoya, UHV Student Government Association president and a resident assistant at Jaguar Suites. “The building is really nice, and its state-of-art features compare favorably to what is offered at other universities. The opening of Jaguar Suites shows how much UHV has grown and how the university is making living arrangements more appealing to students.”
The new dorm is located between the university’s two existing residence halls, Jaguar Hall and Jaguar Court.
Jaguar Hall will remain the primary freshman residence hall, but freshmen can take advantage of some of the features in Jaguar Suites.
“It will be nice for all students living in Jaguar Village to have a nearby place to study,” Olukoya said. “It’s truly going to be a residential community because students can eat, workout, use the computers and study without leaving Jaguar Village.”
Construction on Jaguar Suites began in August 2012 with a groundbreaking following UHV’s convocation ceremony. Echoing design cues from UHV’s University Center building, Jaguar Suites is three stories with a clock tower that serves as an interior staircase connecting the three floors. There is an open courtyard in the middle of the building where the swimming pool is located.
The UH Facilities Planning and Construction Department oversaw the project. Vaughn Construction was the general contractor, and Smith & Co. Architects designed the building.
Brenda Svetlik, UHV director of capital projects, said construction went smoothly, the project stayed within budget, and there were minimal weather delays.
“Any issues that came up have been handled by Vaughn Construction,” she said. “Construction turned out really nice. I’m sure it won’t take long for students to liven up the building and add their personal touches.”
Svetlik said the apartment-style layout and various social lounges will be a big hit with residents. Each student has his own bedroom. Two students share a bathroom, and four students share a living area and kitchenette in each suite.
“The rooms are quite spacious for a dorm room,” she said. “The common areas in the building and courtyard make this a good building for fostering relationships.”
UHV added 159 parking spots in back of Jaguar Suites and 22 additional parking spaces in front and on the side of the building.
Students will be housed this fall on the first and second floors of Jaguar Suites. The third floor is finished but will be used to temporarily house conference and workshop groups.
“We deliberately overbuilt Jaguar Suites to add capacity to meet future needs as UHV continues to expand its resident student population,” Castille said.
The 18 suites on the third floor will be available for outside groups to lease this school year. The lease rate is $600 a month, which includes all utilities, free Wi-Fi and access to the fitness center, computer labs and meeting spaces.
Laura Caldwell, a junior education major from New Braunfels who is a resident assistant at Jaguar Suites, said the new dorm incorporates many elements that students wanted.
“It was a great move by the university to build a suite-style residence hall, and they did it perfectly,” Caldwell said. “Residents will appreciate having more space in the apartment-style set up. It has a great pool and fitness center, and students will take advantage of the study rooms. This is just what UHV needed.”