CRETE, NE — As it celebrates turning 150 in 2022, a new chapter in Doane’s history is getting underway.

"My job as president is to make sure we set Doane up for the next 150 years," University President Dr. Roger Hughes said. "This residence hall is the first step in that."

Doane University President Dr. Roger Hughes speaking as the university officially breaks ground on a new dormitory.

The new building is scheduled to be done in late 2023 and ready for students in January of 2024.

Dr. Judy Kawamoto joined the staff at Doane in March this year as the school’s new VP for Student Affairs. She reflected on her time as a Resident Assistant at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and how campus life impacts students.

"That's what got me on the trajectory to be where I am today," she said. "That was the start of my career. It all began when I was in the residence halls at my alma mater. It was really a transformational moment for me."

The new residence hall will replace Colonial and Burrage Halls, which were built in the late 1960s. Both were demolished over the Summer. Four other dorm buildings remain open.

Dean of Students Megan Failor says students have been involved since the start of the planning process. The residence hall will include many quality of life improvements, such as making it more ADA accessible than the former dorms.

"This building has cutting-edge design," Failor said. "It's going to be extremely beautiful and comfortable and innovative with great technology, great community spaces and an opportunity for students to really have a space of their own."

While the new residence hall is built, students and staff will have to work around reduced parking, construction noise and traffic and some closures.

Those inconveniences are only temporary, however, and Hughes says it will all be worth it in the end.

"We're charged with building the institution every one wants to be like," Hughes said. "Construction on campus is a great step toward this. There are going to be other projects we go forward with, this is just the first step, as we bring Doane into the 21st century, and frankly, set it up for the next 150 years."