Central State opens new Honors Residence Hall: How it fits into the school’s overall plans

WILBERFORCE — Central State University opened its new Honors Residence Hall on Friday, creating a dedicated space for the university’s top students to live and learn.

The 55,000-square-foot residence hall will house 119 upperclassmen students across 65 apartment-styled units. The $15 million facility includes the latest in technology and amenities, university officials said, including a computer lab, student collaborative spaces, tutoring areas, vending area, laundry facility, and the administrative offices for the Honors College.

The two-year-old Honors College has an enrollment of 357 students and is one of the major initiatives university President Jack Thomas began upon starting his tenure in 2020. Thomas said Friday that seeing the Honors Residence Hall built was “a humbling experience.”

“What was once an idea has now come into fruition,” he said. “Some people don’t believe you unless they see it. So I believe in showing people.”

The Honors Residence Hall is a part of a $65 million expansion project called Project Innovation, which includes the construction of six more buildings over the next 36 months. Project Innovation includes the construction of a College of Health and Human Services complex, a Recreation and Wellness Center, Facilities and Logistics Center, Stadium Residential Hall East, Honors Residential Hall West, and apartments along Shorter Avenue.

The expansion coincides with a significant jump in enrollment, Thomas said, adding that students want these apartment-style units.

“We went from about 2,000 to 5,000 students, we launched what we call CSU Global, and we’re expanding our campus. So these are exciting times for us,” Thomas said.

CSU Global is the school’s online learning arm.

“Whenever I discuss the Honors College, I make sure to say that Central State University will never abandon this historic mission to educate all students from various financial and academic backgrounds,” Thomas said. “We as university leaders must create an environment that is conducive to academic and social growth and development of all students.”

Originally planned to be completed over the summer, the residence hall opened in November due to construction delays, Thomas said. Developer University Housing Solutions began construction on the residence hall just over a year ago.

Juniors and seniors will move into the residence hall based on a priority list.

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