DSU students have a home in Blue Hawk Square
They waited 11 days for housing, but at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dickinson State University students began moving into Blue Hawk Square, which was given temporary clearance to allow occupation, officials said Thursday.
"The main issues that were keeping people from occupying it have been addressed," Dickinson Fire Chief Bob Sivak said of the off-campus Dickinson State University student housing on West Villard Street in Dickinson.
There is some work left to do on the project, but all of the life safety issues have been taken care of, City Planner Ed Courton said.
"These are minor issues, but still need to be resolved per code," he said. "It's just it's not enough for us to continually withhold occupancy of that."
The city has the authority to hold off move-in until the building is complete, but it is trying to balance the need for housing with the need for safety, Courton said.
Crews are on-site working to complete the project.
From a fire safety standpoint, the building has been cleared for living, Sivak said.
"They've addressed the items that we had that they had to have in place prior to letting anybody move in," he said.
The exterior has yet to be finished, as does the patio and the lobby, project lead Granville Brinkman said.
One of the bigger projects left is the installation of an elevator. The shaft is walled off so crews are able to install the lift without disturbing residents, he said.
The parking lot was completed Thursday, with paint going on in the afternoon, Brinkman said.
The lot is located south of the apartments on 10th Avenue South, meaning students will have to cross West Villard Street, but the proximity to campus should inhibit any pedestrian safety issues, DSU Alumni Foundation CEO Kevin Thompson said.
"We don't anticipate a lot of students driving up to May Hall to class," he said.
More than half the students moved in Wednesday, Thompson said. The rest were expected to move in Thursday, today and through the weekend.
If construction is not complete, students will have to evacuate the building, Courton said, adding he doesn't see that happening.
Student reception of the building has been good, Thompson said.
"They're all excited to be there," he said Thursday. "As I left last evening, you could smell that they were cooking supper last night."
In the interim, students were housed on campus, in hotels and some opted to stay with friends, Thompson said.
Blue Hawk Square is owned by a group of private investors and managed by the DSU Alumni Foundation. While being a DSU student is a requirement for living there, it is not a part of DSU Residential Life and is an independent apartment complex.