After more than 18 months, the process to construct a new, on-campus president’s mansion at Southern Arkansas University is nearing completion.
An update on the project was issued this week at as part of a funding resolution Tuesday at the quarterly SAU Board of Trustees meeting in Camden. In it, board member David Nelson said the project lacks only a few weeks until it becomes move-in ready.
“A little over a year ago, we agreed that we would build the president a house on campus,” he said. “That has been a truly enduring process, and we are approximately 30 to 45 days away from completion and being able to move in to that house.”
The build has had its share of delays since its original funding measure of just over $1.2 million was appropriated in February 2017. The manor in December was said to open by May or June but the project missed that estimation date.
“It’s been a very long, drawn out process,” Nelson added. “We’ve had to make some changes along the way.”
The project is also over budget. To complete the property, an additional $238,000 was needed, Nelson said, primarily to bolster safety measures at the home.
“The board of trustees approved three substantial changes to the original design to better serve the needs and safety of the public, the university, and the immediate future occupants,” he said during the reading of Tuesday’s resolution.
The financial amendment was passed unanimously by the board of trustees.
In total, the project is now tagged at $1.490 million.
Once the build is complete, SAU President Dr. Trey Berry, along with his family, is expected to move into the home. The mansion is located in a wooded area just south of and facing Overstreet Hall.
The university has been without a dedicated on-campus presidential dwelling since Berry’s immediate predecessor, Dr. David Rankin, elected to forego occupying the previous campus mansion – now the converted Alumni Center at Butler Circle – and instead remain at his longtime rural home just outside of Magnolia.
With the estimated 30 to 45-day period until the new campus home is complete, barring any future hiccups, the site is expected to be move-in ready by mid-late November.