The New Residence Hall
Situated on a slope adjacent to the athletic field below Florida Hall, Columbia's New Residence Hall illustrates the extraordinary scope and ambition of our Columbia's intention to transform the seminary's capability to serve Christ's church in the 21st century.
Columbia trustees have worked diligently to discern the most effective investments to modernize and expand residences for our students. The new residence hall was constructed because Simons-Law Dormitory could not be renovated efficiently. The rooms were below the present standard in higher education. Conditions therefore led some students to live in more expensive off-campus housing, removing them from the community of on-campus life and adding to the financial cost of their education.
Designed by the architecture firm Lord Aeck Sargent, the design provides 60 single bedrooms arranged in one-two-and four-room suite settings, providing a variety of flexible configurations depending on student needs. The design incorporates several gathering and social spaces, chief among them student life space that includes a community kitchen, recreation, fitness, and outdoor gathering facilities. The layout provides access to these spaces not only for building residents but for the entire student body.
Columbia Seminary's awareness of and institutional commitment to the theology and practice of creation care has been growing for many years. The decision to pursue sustainable design for the new graduate student residence hall was student-initiated, endorsed by faculty, and confirmed by trustees as a key goal of the project.
The design incorporates environmentally friendly materials and energy-and-water-efficient systems, including a ground source heat pump with geothermal loop for heating and air-conditioning needs.
A sustainable design worthy of Gold LEED® certification was a primary goal of the project. When the building was completed, however, the award was Gold certification, making Columbia's new residence hall the first such facility in the city of Decatur.