KGI Breaks Ground on First-Ever Housing Complex
Marking the start of the shift to a residential campus, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony for its first-ever housing complex on the evening of May 11. The project includes a four-story, 225,000 square-foot building with 419 beds in studio, one-, and two-bedroom living spaces. The construction is expected to conclude in Fall 2018.
The complex will provide outdoor plazas, student lounges, a fitness center and pool, a barbecue area, and additional classroom and study space, and it’s all been designed with the environment in mind and will achieve LEED Gold certification.
Attendants served hors d’oeuvres and beverages starting at 5:30 p.m. under a tent and welcomed guests into the event area with a vista of the construction zone. Posters showed renderings of the amenities that will soon fill the now empty plot. The posters were color-coordinated to matching large balloon stacks strategically placed in the construction zone that helped guests looking out on the construction vista to visualize the scope and logistics of the finished project.
The ceremony began at 6 p.m. with KGI President Sheldon Schuster, Claremont Mayor Larry Schroeder, KGI student government leader Poonim Daya, Father Joe Fenton, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Bob Curry seated behind a wooden podium at the edge of the construction zone.
The five speakers welcomed guests and talked about the now intertwined histories between KGI and the land.
“New ideas and research will take root where citrus once blossomed,” Schuster said “Students will live, work, and learn here.”
Fenton, one of The Claremont Colleges' chaplains, delivered an invocation for the project. Schroeder congratulated KGI and shared his excitement for students and the Claremont community as a whole.
“When I arrived in Claremont 15 years ago, KGI was a new school, with far fewer students and programs than today,” Schroeder said. “It has been remarkable to watch it grow, and to have more KGI students come to Claremont.”
The speakers made it clear that student needs are the motivation for the project. Although the event took place on the week of commencement and other academic year-end celebrations, students attended in between finals, picking up family from the airport, and other celebration engagements.
Student government leader, Poonim Daya, led the ceremony and explained to guests, “KGI is also a close-knit community, and living on campus will only strengthen that sense of community,” she said.
Dean of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services Sofia Toro agrees that these are important times for KGI and its students.
“Having an on-campus housing option will positively transform the student experience and will be an attractive option for international students who are considering KGI,” Toro said.
After the ceremonial addresses, the mayor and trustees walked to a trough filled with dirt. Each person grabbed a gold-painted shovel and donned a KGI-branded hardhat to officially “break ground” on the project and pose for photographs, as the song, “Celebration” played in the background and guests toasted the effort with champagne and apple cider.
After the official program concluded, the entire crowd of students, administration, and other guests took advantage of photo opportunities at the trough while sharing the shovels and other props.
As the excitement continues to build, regular updates on the development can be accessed at build.kgi.edu.
“Our new residential space will strengthen the intellectual exchange and student collaboration that distinguishes our KGI community and is fundamental to our success,” Schuster said.