GOFFSTOWN - The first shovels of dirt were dug to make way for the newest residence at St. Anselm College, which is expected to be ready for students next year.
The new four-story, 47,000-square-foot building will be near the Bertrand and Brady halls and will accommodate 150 students.
The residence hall may be considered small by some college standards, but is medium-sized for St. Anselm, and a much-needed addition for students living on campus, said Sue Weintraub, director of residential life and education.
The project has been on hold for financial reasons since 2008, said Joseph Horton, the college's vice president for student affairs.
"We had this building on the drawing board, but decided to put it on hiatus at that point," Horton said. "We decided that was the most prudent course."
In the years since, Horton said, the demand for on-campus housing continued to swell, and a slightly more stable economic climate brought the project back to the forefront.
While preliminary drawings show a building that will mirror others on campus, with a brick exterior that reflects a more traditional feel, the interior will be more modern.
Features will include upscale showers and seating areas that will support suites of single, double and triple rooms accessible with key cards, in addition to laundry rooms, an Internet café and meeting areas.
The residence will be an innovative living-learning community that extends the college's efforts to integrate academic and residential life, Horton said.
"Living and learning communities essentially bring academic life into the residential environment," he said. "It softens the barrier between the two."
Large meeting areas will allow students to have guest speakers in the residence and work on group projects.
"Part of the Benedictine tradition is to balance different aspects of life," Horton said. "This really adheres to that concept."
The design allows for divisions to be made by gender on separate wings or floors.