Old Bricks, New Brooks

March 29, 2006
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Brooks Hall, the oldest residence hall in use at Baylor, will sayágoodbye to its last residents in May to make way for the University'sánewest development in student living, Brooks Village.
At its Feb. 3ámeeting, the Baylor Board of Regents authorized the construction ofáBrooks Village, a 700-bed residential complex, at an estimated costáof $42.8 million. Regents also authorized construction of an $8.3ámillion parking complex on the southeastern part of campus andáapproved the issuance of up to $63.5 million in bonds to finance botháprojects in full.
"The Brooks Village project is an important partáof the University's 10-year Vision," said Baylor President John M. Lilley. "It will help us enhance the learning environment, move us toward a stronger residential campus and increase our ability toáattract and retain top students."
Named for Baylor's seventhápresident, Samuel Palmer Brooks, the current five-story residenceáhall was constructed in 1921. Among its former residents are Lilley and Board of Regents Chair Will Davis.
Dub Oliver, interim vice president for student life,ásaid Brooks Village will consist of two separate facilities -- Brooks Flats and Brooks College.
Brooks Flats, which will be designed similarly to North Village, will include 316 bedsáin a combination of four-person apartments.áEach unit will have two bathrooms, a living room and a full kitchen. Feedback from current North Village residents helpedáshape the plans for Brooks Flats, particularly the inclusion of a full kitchen with dishwasher in every unit, Oliver said.
The second part of Brooks Village is a 384-bed residential collegeácalled Brooks College, which will house freshmen as well as upperclass students.
"A residential college is something we haven't offered before at Baylor," Oliver said. "It's a different type of residentialáexperience that a lot of universities have used, based on the classicáOxford or Cambridge model of an interdisciplinary residential experience."
Unlike the North Village and Alexander residential living-learning centers -- in which common academic courses unify the students -- a residential collegeáis built around a common community of living, Oliver said. "That means thatáwhile residents may all be taking different courses and majoring inádifferent subjects, they come together for common activities," he said. á
To encourage that feeling of community, Brooks College will includeáspaces that lend themselves to group socializing, such as an interior courtyard, junior and senior commons rooms, a library and aásmall chapel.
Another feature is the Great Hall, a two-story space with a vaulted ceiling, where family-style meals will be served once a week for residents, Oliver said. The room will be able to seat about 420 people for special lectures orámeetings.
A faculty master, frequently found in residential colleges, also will be part of Brooks College, he said.
"The idea is that the faculty master will live in the college overáthe course of many years," Oliver said. "The space we will createáfor the faculty master is almost 2,800 square feet, large enough to raise a family in. The faculty master will have a lot of identity within the college, and a lot of connection to residents."
The architecture of the residential college will incorporate many ofáthe external features of the current Brooks Hall, including the landmark Brooks Arch and the bust of namesake Samuel Palmer Brooks.
"To preserve some of the features of Brooks Hall, we also will be saving some of its stones and using them in the construction of Brooks College," Oliver said. "I thinkápeople will be pleased with how the character of the old building is being preserved, because it's important to us to keep Baylor's strong sense of place."

Parking complex
The 800-car parking garage will be built between Eighth and Ninthástreets across from Ruth Collins Hall and Mary Gibbs Jones Family andáConsumer Sciences Building, and will include about 10,000 square feetáof retail and office space. Its architecture will be similar to theáEast Campus Parking Garage.
Oliver said a groundbreaking ceremony will be held this spring, with the demolition of Brooks Hall scheduled to begin May 15. Both Brooks Village and the parking complex are expected to open by theáfall 2007 semester.
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