FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Fifty-four years after construction crews completed the first 12 buildings of J. Howard Williams Student Village in 1958, the first batch of 12 highly anticipated new apartment buildings has opened and become home to students and their families.
The first occupants of the apartments began moving in Nov. 8 and will continue in waves through the early weeks of December, as construction crews complete phase one of the housing project. Phase two will include demolition of several more existing buildings in Student Village to make room for the remaining new units, slated for completion in summer 2013.
Each unit includes wood-like laminate flooring in the living areas and carpet in the bedrooms, an L-shaped kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, two full bathrooms, washer/dryer connections, large windows and ceiling fans. Some of the units even offer an unobstructed view of downtown Fort Worth.
The three-story apartments, which come in both two- and three-bedroom layouts, have courtyards between the buildings to provide safe, well-lit walkways from the parking lot to the building, as well as space for children to play.
Vice President of Business Administration Kevin Ensley has led the charge toward and through the new housing project with the help of Matt Elgin, director of plant maintenance, and Manhattan Construction, the company that also built Southwestern’s MacGorman Chapel and Performing Arts Center, which opened in December 2011. Ensley said the team of people working together on the housing project shared a commitment to providing Southwesterners with quality facilities.
“I am very pleased and excited with the opening of the first two buildings in phase one of our new student housing,” Ensley said. “I firmly believe that those students who occupy any of our new housing units will see firsthand the seminary’s commitment to provide our students first-class accommodations at a reasonable price.”
Director of Housing Jonathan Watson says beyond the advantages of having updated housing and the ability to better accommodate the needs of the student population, the new apartments have the potential to foster community, an enhanced learning experience and a picture of the body of Christ as described in Scripture.
“I like that we're not segregating students by family type—that we'll have singles [next to] marrieds, that we'll have married without kids next to married with kids,” Watson said. “I think it will better reflect what the church is supposed to look like and how it’s supposed to relate to itself.”
Completion of the housing project doubles the amount of three-bedroom housing available and will bring the seminary’s total number of on-campus apartments from 715 to 815.
Watson said both the increase in housing availability and the up-to-date amenities used in the new construction add value to Southwestern.
“I don’t think you make decisions on where you go to seminary based solely on housing, but I think this takes that off the table as far as one of the reasons not to come to our seminary,” Watson said. “It does potentially invite folks to come to our seminary.”