Vanderbilt’s graduate and professional student housing project reached two milestones in April: the placement of the final steel structural beam of the building, and the announcement of the first retail business to occupy the space, the Turnip Truck.
Topping out ceremony
In a topping out ceremony April 21, campus leaders and members of Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions, Axium Infrastructure and JE Dunn Construction achieved a major milestone with the placement of the final steel structural beam of the project. Dating as far back as 700 A.D., topping out ceremonies mark the placement and celebration of the final or top structural beam during a construction project.
Members of the Vanderbilt community and those involved with construction participated in the topping out ceremony for the university’s graduate and professional student housing project on April 21, 2022. (Vanderbilt University)
New retail business announced for space
Vanderbilt and surrounding Nashville communities will soon have access to natural, local groceries within walking distance. The Turnip Truck, a full-service, locally owned natural food grocer, will open a location in the Vanderbilt graduate and professional student housing development, which is in Midtown between Lyle and 20th avenues.
“We are excited to welcome the Turnip Truck to this space as we continue to add amenities that will support not only our graduate students, but also those who work and live near the building,” said Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration. “Having a selection of natural food options within steps of campus is a win when thinking about our campus community members’ quality of life.”
The Turnip Truck, which has three other Nashville locations, stocks its shelves with high-quality natural, local and organic foods and is devoted to fostering relationships with local farmers and producers. The store will provide groceries and feature grab-and-go meal options such as salad, juice and hot bars.
Scheduled to open in summer 2023, the Turnip Truck is a key part of the university’s goal to provide graduate and professional students a residential environment where they can foster a greater sense of community and collaboration.
About the housing project
The graduate and professional student housing development is the university’s first public-private partnership (P3) project. The university is partnering with Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions and Axium Infrastructure to build two towers (one seven stories high and the other 11 stories) that will have 616 beds and several retail spaces.
The housing project will welcome students for the 2023–24 academic year and will have a mixture of unit sizes, a public courtyard, a fitness center and a collaborative workspace open to all graduate and professional students. The building is designed in support of the university’s sustainability goals to achieve a LEED certification.
In remarks delivered to attendees of the building’s groundbreaking ceremony in July 2021, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School André Christie-Mizell spoke about the steps Vanderbilt has taken to nurture a greater sense of community among graduate and professional students and how this housing development will be an extension of that goal.
“This housing development aims to elevate our thriving graduate and professional student community by offering them a place to continue their learning beyond the classroom,” he said. “Providing housing options for graduate and professional students adjacent to campus also enhances Vanderbilt’s ability to recruit the best students to our rapidly growing city.”