Before its new residence hall complex is even completed, Marquette University in Milwaukee is going to add two additional floors to one of the towers.

Expanding the project will increase the capacity of the new student housing to 890 instead of the 750 called for in initial plans. It also will boost the cost to $108 million instead of $96 million.

Marquette held a groundbreaking ceremony for the project in November.

The university says its board of trustees have approved the plan to add two floors to the west tower of the complex. Officials say the expansion will not alter the construction timeline for the new residence hall. It is scheduled to open to students in August 2018.

Under the original construction plan, the new housing would enable Marquette to raze McCormick Hall, which houses 725 students and is more than 50 years old. The additional capacity from the expansion will give Marquette the flexibility to close O’Donnell Hall, a residence hall that opened in 1950.

“We examined the occupancy rates of our existing housing stock and our enrollment projections over the next few years, and we determined that the most cost-effective and timely way for us to add needed beds, as identified in our master plan, was to add two floors to this project,” says Lora Strigens, vice president for planning and strategy. “We have no immediate plans to raze O’Donnell, so we still have the flexibility to reopen it should enrollment exceed capacity.

“As buildings like McCormick and O’Donnell continue to age, they require significant ongoing investment to maintain and bring up to current codes,” Strigens says. “At some point the cost of that maintenance no longer makes sense when compared to replacement.”

University alumni Ray and Kay Eckstein have issued a $10 million challenge toward the construction of the facility, which will be named for longtime Marquette President Rev. Robert A. Wild.