September 24, 2001 11:00 pm

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

A new residence hall will soon be seen on the Eastern Oregon University campus, but the question of just where the dormitory will be built is being decided.

Construction of the residence hall may begin in seven to nine months. Administrators are pondering where the dormitory will be placed and how it should be designed.

It is our intent to start construction in late spring or early summer of 2002, said Michael Daugherty, Easterns director of residence life.

The dorm would be open for the start of fall term in 2003.

It is likely that the building will be in the central part of campus, south of Hunt Hall and west of the physical plant.

Easterns intramural field is located in that area. If a dormitory is built there, steps probably would be taken to develop a replacement field, Daugherty said.

Eastern administrators are considering building a dormitory that would be like Alikut Hall, which was built east of Quinn Coliseum in 1997. It provides housing for juniors and seniors.

The new dormitory would have modifications so that it could better meet the needs of freshmen and sophomores, Daugherty said. It would feature more lounge and game room space.

It would be like Alikut Hall with a 5 percent change, Daugherty said

Eastern officials are working with Soderstrom Architects of Portland, the firm that designed Alikut.

The new residence hall would have space for 96 or 120 beds, according to a proposed plan.

The dormitory will be financed with a portion of the $10.8 million in bonds Eastern has been given authority by the state to sell for residence hall construction, said Darlene Morgan, EOUs vice president for business and finance.

The university will be responsible for paying back the principal and interest on the bonds. The bonds will be retired with money generated from EOUs student housing operations.

Daugherty said there is always some risk when a new building project is undertaken. However, he is excited about the plans for a new residence hall.

It will demonstrate that the campus is growing and moving ahead, Daugherty said.

The new building will represent Easterns fourth residence hall. Its others are Dorion, Alikut and Hunt halls. The universitys long-term plan calls for another new dormitory to be built later. The plan also calls for Dorion Hall to eventually be shut down as a dormitory.

Daugherty noted that about five years ago an architectural firm evaluated Dorion and recommended that it be replaced, rather than undergo extensive remodeling.

Dorions east section was built in the mid 1950s and its west section opened in the early 1960s.

Dorion will continue as a dormitory until Eastern completes its two new dormitories, Daugherty said. The bonding authority Eastern received will allow the university to build the two new dormitories.

Dorion, located on the western edge of campus off Sixth Street, presently has about 240 residents. One possibility for Dorion in the future would be for it to be torn down.

It is likely that all new dormitories at EOU will be built in the vicinity of the Alikut and Hunt residence halls. One reason is that Easterns Residence Life Task Force recommended earlier this year that dormitories be kept together in the central part of campus.

The task force, comprised of students, faculty and staff, said that keeping dormitories in the same area will make make it easier for residence hall students to assemble for activities.

It also said that locating the dormitories centrally will reduce possible conflicts with the community.