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University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students are one step closer to living a “suite life” on campus with the groundbreaking ceremony of the new residence hall on Nov. 15.

The groundbreaking celebration for the five-story, 340-bed residence hall will be held in the Reeve Memorial Union Marketplace at 3:30 p.m.

The new building, located on the former site of Breese, Nelson and Clemans halls, will be the first residence hall constructed at UW Oshkosh in 40 years, and the new suite-style hall is the first of its kind on campus.

“We believe the suite-style accommodations offer really nice options for upperclassmen,” said Tom Fojtik, director of residence life. “The location of the hall is right in the heart of campus, which students will really enjoy.”

The $34 million residence hall, funded through student fees, will provide sophomore, junior, senior and graduate students apartment-style housing with more options, including two- and four-bedroom suites, shared living rooms, kitchenettes, private bathrooms and storage space in each suite.

The University Planning Committee pursued the construction of a suite-style residence hall to accommodate the needs of today’s students.

“Student and parent expectations have changed over the years, and the changing qualities of life are factors of whether or not new residence halls are to be built on campus,” said Petra Roter, vice chancellor for student affairs. “Surveys have indicated that students want more choices when it comes to University housing.”

The new hall not only will attract prospective students, but also will help with retention of upper-level and graduate students living on campus, Fojtik added.

In support of the University’s commitment to sustainability, the hall is planned to meet platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and feature eco-friendly elements, including a green roof, trash enclosure, geothermal ground-source heat pump for heating and cooling, heat recovery from Residence Life data center, geothermal hot water production and specialized bicycle storage.

Limestone facade from the former Clemans Hall is being recycled for the exterior seating area and surrounding the fireplace inside.

Construction of the new residence hall has begun in November, and the project will be completed and open for students in fall 2012.

During the groundbreaking celebration, faculty and student leaders will speak about what the new residence hall means to the University. Speakers will include Fojtik, Roter, President of United Students in Residence Halls Molly Kopplin, Community Advisor Nick Patrick, Chancellor Richard H. Wells and State Representative Gordon Hintz.