New dorm to open August 2017
Beginning in the fall of 2017, students will have another on-campus housing option located on Academy Street. Construction began as scheduled in mid-January and should be completed by July 2017, Peter Krawchyk, interim vice president of facilities, real estate and auxiliary services at the university, said.
The four-story building is set to house approximately 531 first-year students in traditional double—and possibly triple rooms—with a lounge and communal bathroom for every 34 to 38 students, Krawchyk said.
Residents will also enjoy a courtyard because of the building’s U-shaped design. Keeping with the traditional university architecture, the new dorm will resemble the classic surrounding buildings, but the interior features will be very similar to Caesar Rodney’s design.
“It’s really on the historic part of the campus so we wanted to keep the character of the building to match the character of what’s inside the walls, so to speak,” Krawchyk said. “But it will have a lot of sustainable features in terms of water savings and mechanical systems.”
The Academy Street dorm comes as a follow up to the recently-closed Rodney and Dickinson Residence Halls. The number of beds it provides equates to those lost by the closure of West campus, and it should provide a solution to the housing shortage that left many freshmen living in triples, Krawchyk said.
Most students are very excited about the newest addition. Sophomore José Garcia said the current construction will be beneficial to freshmen and the university. But while this is taking care of the first-year student housing shortage, Garcia said upperclassmen are also facing the same issue.
“I think that they should probably build dorms for upperclassmen,” Garcia said. “Just because it seems that they build a lot of dorms for freshmen and then it’s hard for upperclassmen to get [spots] or it’s a scramble to find a roommate and be in a place you want to live.”
Garcia’s and other student’s legitimate concerns about housing have yet to be noted by the university. Senior Associate Director of Residence Life and Housing Jim Tweedy said the final decision has not been made as to whether the new dorm will house freshmen or upper-class students.
Despite the possibility that the new housing could be a coveted spot, Tweedy said triples will continue to be a part of on-campus housing. The university may be replacing the beds they lost with Rodney and Dickinson, but certain variations in room size and building specifications lend themselves to triples, Tweedy said.
“We’ll still have triples,” Tweedy said. “We’ve always had triples even with Rodney and Dickinson. We’ve always had an average of 300 to 400 people in triples.”
Nevertheless, this addition to campus is expected to do more than just provide another housing option. If the dorm is established as a first-year building, which will be comparable in price to other traditional dorms, Tweedy said it will greatly increase the cohesiveness of the freshman class that was sometimes lacking with students living on West campus.
The dorm is one of many components of the Academy Street project. It also includes construction outside of what was Kent Dining Hall, which will be aptly named Kent Plaza. Expanding into the hillside behind Kent, a raised platform area will be built for a variety of student gatherings, Tweedy said.
Coupled with the courtyard of the Academy Street dorms, there will be plenty of space to encourage interaction between first-year students and promote a sense of unity, Tweedy said.
“If we end up going with this as freshmen, I think one of the benefits would be the freshman class identity to a certain degree because they’re all in one area,” Tweedy said. “I think that would be an attractive thing and I think there would be a certain kind of energy with it.”