Newark begins demolition of Rodney dorms
BY Senior Reporter
The City of Newark began the demolition process on the Caesar Rodney Residence Hall Complex on West Campus early last week. In its place, the city plans to build a stormwater pond and a park. The area of demolition does not include the Dickinson Residence Hall Complex.
After the closure of the West Campus dorms in 2015, the city jumped at the chance to purchase the property. Tim Filasky, director of Public Works & Water Resources for the City of Newark, says the dorms are in a great location to alleviate localized flooding as well as help downstream flooding.
“The area around Rodney has always been on our radar,” Filasky said. “Upstream will do nothing but help the downstream system. However, we never really had the opportunity to do anything upstream.”
Filasky said demolition is expected to be finished by mid-December. The stormwater facility and park construction is expected to be finished by fall 2020.
The $6.5 million stormwater project was approved by voters this past June with an 83% majority. Voters also agreed on $2.5 million for park amenities with a 63% majority.
Lindsey Viets, a senior health-behavior science major, lives on Forest Lane across from Rodney and is upset at the loss of the sports courts.
“Last year there were no fences up, you could just walk over and play basketball,” Viets said. “There’s people from Newark that had volleyball leagues and would come and play on the courts, people would play tennis all the time, and it’s frustrating because we can’t utilize that anymore.”
Julia Sowa, a senior exercise science major, also lives on Forest Lane and is concerned about the noise.
“The train tracks are right by us and we hear that all the time, so that plus any noise from the construction is going to be crazy,” Sowa said.
Sowa said that the construction has also created a problem with parking.
“Where the construction workers have set up their equipment, there’s parking spaces over there that people used to use,” Sowa said. “But since those can’t be used anymore, everybody’s been parking right on our street.”
Mallory Metzner, a university alumna and former Rodney resident is ready to see the building go. She said the poor living conditions there didn’t leave her with good feelings about the dorm.
“Good, it’s about time,” Metzner said in response to the news. “Burn it to the ground.”
Metzner said she is excited to see the results of the pond and the park next year.
“A park would be nice considering all of the development there,” Metzner said. “It’d be nice to have a peaceful place for people to hang out and study and to keep west campus alive.”
Last week, the environmental remediation of the project was completed, which involved cleaning out any contamination, including asbestos. The week of Sept. 8, the soft demo will begin, which involves clearing out all remaining appliances, windows and piping.
Details of the project can be found on the city’s website here.