Gullo Hall, the newest addition to Lubbock Christian University’s campus, could be seen rising from the field between the Rip Griffin Center, Hays Field, the C.L Kay Christian Development Center, and the intramurals fields as early as spring of 2021. The new residence hall, featuring 171 new beds and over 64,000 square feet of living and community spaces for LCU students, is a state-of-the-art facility with private rooms, a gorgeous full kitchen, and three full floors of space primed to continue building the campus community and relationships that are foundational to the LCU experience.

The dream that became Gullo Hall began in 2018, as Randal Dement, Vice President of Student Life, recalls.

“We've long felt there was a gap in some of our upperclassmen housing,” he shared, “so those conversations started early. We even had designs and plans drawn up, though it was proposed for a different location.”

On April 1 of 2020, LCU’s seventh president Dr. Scott McDowell began his tenure leading the university, and he quickly began developing a strategic plan for the university’s future. A major portion of that plan involved long-term planning for future expansions of the physical campus, and the discussions of a new residence hall began to take on new life.

AltGullo Hall was made possible by generous donations from across the LCU community.“We know that some of the most powerful experiences that happen at LCU come in the context of community,” President McDowell shared. “We also knew that, when a student moves off-campus, they often become less engaged in the community as a whole, and that we did not have adequate options for enough of our students to live on campus beyond their first two years. A new residence hall became a huge priority.”

With approval for the project from the LCU Board of Trustees, senior administrators formulated plans for the new residence hall securing input from a variety of stakeholders. In the spring of 2021 during Homecoming Weekend, the LCU Board of Trustees held an official dedication and groundbreaking ceremony, and construction officially began.

One of the biggest challenges facing the construction of the new facility was financial. The building would cost a total of $16 million, and while such a number could have been daunting, LCU leadership had faith that God would provide, and the surrounding community would rally around such a vital cause—and rally they did.

As news of the project spread, friends from across the LCU alumni network stepped up to give generously to make this dream a reality. Longtime partners like Tony and Dolly Gullo, the Cardwell family, the Randolph Foundation for Higher Education, Madera Residential and Quext, Alfred and Patricia Smith, and Rob (‘92) and Keva (Jackson, ‘90) Wilkinson joined many other friends of the university in giving toward this new residence hall.

Tony and Dolly Gullo, for whom the hall is named, have been advocates for the LCU student experience for over 25 years. Their interest in LCU was piqued when Dolly accompanied her granddaughter, DeLena (Waldrum) McEwen (‘02), who moved into Katie Rogers Hall as a first-year student in 1996.

The Gullo’s incredible generosity has been an investment that has had a transformational impact on both the appearance of LCU’s campus and the lives of its students. “We chose to be involved in this project because we wanted to help the school grow and expand,” Dolly emphasized. “It brings me joy to know friendships will be formed in the new residence hall that will last a lifetime.”

altThe first students to call Gullo Hall “home” moved into the residence hall before the start of the spring semester.
Jim Cardwell and the Cardwell family are benefactors who have been investing in and influencing the university since 1974, when the family patriarch, Jack Cardwell, joined the LCU Board of Trustees. Their gift to Gullo Hall funded the beautiful Cardwell Courtyard behind the residence hall itself—a featured community space with fire pits and grills.

Jim Cardwell, who now serves as a trustee on the board himself, shared, “Our family has a long history with LCU, and we have seen first-hand how students’ lives are changed for the better by being in community with Christian mentors and peers. We are very excited that this project will create greater capacity for even more students to experience the life changing education at LCU.”

Raymond Richardson, Vice President for University Advancement, shared, “LCU has been allowed to dream big about the future because donors, friends, alumni, and the surrounding community are living the vision of the university right beside us. Gullo Hall has been a great project for the university because God opened doors for fundraising.”

After the groundbreaking, work commenced in earnest on the new three-story building. Foundations were poured, stairwells and elevator shafts were built, and soon the full height of the building was visible across campus. As the structure began to take shape, Reagan Branch, the Residence Hall Director for Gullo Hall, recalled the excitement that was building in the community.

“I got more excited every time I saw it,” she said. “When we saw the layout, it was cool and exciting, but when they started putting the finishes on and bringing in furniture, I couldn’t get over how incredible it looked. I heard a lot of our students talking about how excited they were about it, but so many have told me that it has even surpassed those expectations.”

The building features several spaces primed for building community. The hall is structured so that men’s and women’s rooms are on opposite wings from each other, but their proximity is quite different from the existing men’s and women’s residence halls, that stand on the opposite sides of campus. Gullo Hall’s community spaces span both indoor and outdoor locations, including an outside third-floor Smith Terrace, named for Alfred and Patricia Smith, complete with outdoor furniture overlooking the courtyard below and Hays Field. The courtyard is another community space on the ground-floor just outside the back doors of Gullo Hall. Cardwell Courtyard includes a beautiful lawn area, fire pit, multiple grills, and beautiful lighting to enhance the outdoor activities.

“When the Hall was designed, there was a focus on community spaces,” Branch explained. “In addition to the lobby and kitchen area, there are also community spaces just outside of the rooms at the end of the hall on each of the three floors. The private rooms are nice, but there is a lot of space within the building for students to spend time.”

AltGullo Hall promises to be a community hub, centered around building relationships.Dement agreed, emphasizing that even beyond the building itself, there are other features around Gullo Hall that are still in the works which are poised to highlight this new living space even further as a cornerstone on campus.

“I think anytime you have an aesthetically pleasing space, it enhances the student experience in so many ways,” he emphasized. “Even beyond the Gullo Hall facility itself, we are planning for additional outdoor community spaces in the area around it – and that will be some of the best space on campus.”

The building’s location lends itself to being a center for campus life. Gullo Hall is right next to both Hays Field, the Rip Griffin Center, and a short walk from the Rhodes Perrin Rec Center. “It brings more accessibility to the south end of campus,” Dement continued. “It really does open up some good traffic to a part of campus that was previously a bit more spread out.”

Gullo Hall also features enhanced, state-of-the-art security, including an advanced electronic door access system, which was donated by Quext, a Lubbock-based company headed by Dave Marcinkowski, a partner at Madera Residential.

“Where better for us to launch our revolutionary IoT (Internet of Things) solution than LCU's brand new student residence, Gullo Hall,” Marcinkowski shared. “We cannot thank the leadership at LCU enough for this opportunity and partnership. Our two Christ-centered organizations will continue to make Lubbock proud with other initiatives we are working on together.”

The departments of Student Life and Res Life planned for a soft opening in the middle of the academic year after construction was completed in November 2023. At the start of the spring 2024 semester, the first student residents officially moved into the hall in January.

altTony and Dolly Gullo, along with several members of their family, cut the ribbon signaling the official opening and dedication of Gullo Hall, made possible by the generous donations from their family and so many others.“I’m so grateful for those students who were willing to be a part of our soft opening,” President McDowell shared. “They’re helping us as we learn the best way to run a new place to live and to build new traditions—it’s something that’s going to shape the future of LCU for years to come.”

This first, smaller group of students will help Dement, Branch, and the rest of the LCU Student Life team as they navigate the new challenges and opportunities that come with this significant change to the existing campus living environment.

“It's naturally going to fill itself as time goes on,” Branch noted, “having student organizations into the building and offering it as a space for them to have meetings and host other events in there—the more people see it, the more they'll be drawn to it.”

Guests will have a chance to see Gullo Hall during Homecoming 2024 during the Coming Home Reception. The event will feature live music in the Cardwell Courtyard, provided by alumnus Jason Nutt (‘11) and his band Highway 70, coffee by Monomyth Coffee, and other refreshments. Register for these and other homecoming events to get your personalized itinerary for the weekend.

Gullo Hall began as a dream for furthering campus community, and through the shared vision of LCU leadership, the generosity of friends and alumni, and the diligent work of servant-hearted staff, that dream has become reality. This new residence hall will serve not only as an elevated living space, but also as a central hub for community and as a draw for future Chaparrals to envision themselves at Lubbock Christian University.