Even as the University’s founders crafted the master plan for the campus in 1912 they envisioned a place that would evolve with the times.

When asked when SMU would be completed, Robert S. Hyer, the University’s founding president, replied, “After the city of Dallas is completed.” And for 100 years the University has evolved while also maintaining its traditional architecture and layout of quadrangles, creating a campus environment conducive to the highest standard of academic achievement and community enrichment.

Now a new phase of construction beginning this spring will transform the southeast section of the Dallas campus and enhance all aspects of University life. The centerpiece project is the Residential Commons Complex, a series of five residence halls and a dining facility that will allow 1,250 additional first- and second-year students and a number of faculty members to live on campus.

A conceptual rendering of the new Residential Commons Complex. The complex embodies a new model for the undergraduate residential experience at SMU and is the centerpiece of a major new construction and renovation initiative in the southeast section of campus.

“This significant addition to campus is more than just expanded facilities,” says Paul W. Ludden, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Students and professors will live in these new quads and establish a new concept for the learning experience at SMU.”

Lori S. White, vice president for Student Affairs, said that all other campus residence halls will be reformatted to this concept.

“Learning happens everywhere at SMU, in the classroom and beyond,” she says. “We are dedicated to that vision and are very excited about the opportunity to offer this transformative experience to more of our students.”

With the Residential Commons Complex, SMU will have enough rooms to support a new two-year residency requirement so that more students will benefit from living and learning in the close-knit campus community.

The complex will be visible from the corner of Mockingbird Lane and North Central Expressway, a focal point of other campus additions and enhancements under way to benefit academics, athletics and student life.

SMU will break ground on the project April 20, during Founders’ Day Weekend, the annual spring homecoming that is becoming a tradition on the Hilltop. Alumni, parents and friends are invited to the ceremony near the construction site, between Ford Stadium and Doak Walker Plaza.

Next month’s groundbreaking also represents the symbolic beginning of a series of projects to provide other new campus enhancements that are also part of the Centennial Master Plan.  Because of the far-reaching aspects of these projects, the event will include the dedication of a centennial cornerstone to commemorate the magnitude of this next phase of development.

Expanding and enhancing the campus experience is a primary goal of SMU’s Second Century Campaign. This includes modern facilities to meet the needs and expectations of new generations of students pursuing academic achievement and personal growth. These additions to campus enhance the student’s academic, cultural and community life and support innovative programs.

The Residential Commons Complex, as well as the range of new construction and renovation initiatives, provides many opportunities for donors at all levels to participate. All gifts count toward the goals of The Second Century Campaign.

To learn more about the centennial groundbreaking event, please visit smu.edu/foundersday.