Building offers new den for Tigers


Tiger Place is starting to feel -- and look -- like the place to be.

Paul-Wertenberger Construction Co. is putting the finishing touches on the new residence hall at Fort Hays State University. Late last week, semis delivered seven truckloads of furniture to the dorm where Agnew Hall stood.

"That furniture is very, very nice," said Katelyn Korbitz, who will be the manager at Tiger Place. "I think it's something that makes everything look really nice. Just indicates we want students to have what they pay for. Not only what they pay for, but what they deserve.

"That furniture indicates what we want everyone to have, that communal space, everyone to hang out, study together, laugh together -- basically create a community."

The 123-bed, two-story building has four-person suites composed of four bedrooms with a common living space.

There are two bathrooms with showers and a kitchenette with a sink, mini-refrigerator, microwave and cabinets.

Each suite has cable and Internet access.

"I think Tiger Place is going to be so unique, and what we can provide for students," Korbitz said.

Korbitz was impressed when she first saw the state-of-the-art facility. This isn't your mom or dad's dorm room.

"My initial reaction when I walked in the building was like, 'Wow,' " she said. "Fort Hays really cares about their students."

Steve Paul, contractor and co-owner of Paul-Wertenberger Construction in Hays, said construction began Sept. 19. He hoped to have a certificate for occupancy Monday. Students are scheduled to move in starting Aug. 16.

"The biggest thing is the timeline, just putting together what the university would like to have," Paul said of how construction went.

Paul-Wertenberger Construction also built Stadium Place, an apartment complex on campus, and will build the second unit at Tiger Place. It will have 112 beds.

Construction on it is slated to begin as soon as the first building is finished, with occupancy in the fall of 2013.

Paul said the total cost of the project for the two buildings is approximately $9.5 million.

"We've done a lot of commercial projects on campus and throughout the community and 90-mile radius," Paul said.

Moving in furniture last week was an assembly line process of sorts.

Two workers were in the semi, moving furniture to the edge.

Other workers gathered up the couches and chairs and lugged them inside and up the stairs.

"It's going pretty smoothly," said Josh Reese, a worker for the construction company from McPherson. "We got enough guys here."

It was hot, and the workers were sweating, but Caleb Crocker didn't mind.

"It's better than sitting in the office all day," said Crocker, who is from Garden City and started working for the construction company this summer.

"I grew up in Texas (and am) used to it," he said of the 100-degree days.