When students look toward the southwest corner of campus, they will now notice a vacant, fenced-in lot where the homes on Ruden and Isadore Streets once stood.
That is because this summer, the University of New Haven razed eight houses to make room for a new residence hall. The building, which is expected to hold 350 to 400 beds, will be set up similarly to Soundview Hall.
It is set to open in fall 2014 and will cost approximately $30 million. Parking and greenery is said to also be on the property.
The expansion comes at a convenient time for the university. In the past seven years, full-time undergraduate enrollment climbed from 2,290 in 2005 to 4,119 in 2011. There are currently only 2,600 beds for students living on campus and in off-campus apartments sponsored by the university.
Within those seven years, less and less housing became available for students, forcing upperclassmen to find off-campus accommodations. Students enrolled at UNH in 2014 can now breathe a bit easier, knowing that another residence hall will become available for them to use in the future. Whether the building will hold freshmen or upperclassmen is still unknown.
“The university is quite aware we don’t have enough housing on campus to meet all of the demand, and that is why we are in the process of building an additional residence hall on campus,” said Daniel Kalmanson, associate vice president for communications and public affairs, to the New Haven Register.
George Synodi, vice president of finance and administration added that the university had purchased some of the homes on Ruden and Isadore streets in the past 12 months. Other residents approached school officials with a deal.
“They’re part of a residential zone. We’d be extending the residential quad. So it’s a logical place to put a residential building, and really not a logical place to put an academic or office building,” Synodi said.
Construction crews are working within the fenced area, checking for asbestos and removing hazardous materials. The university also plans to hire an architect and contractor.
The city of West Haven has yet to approve the university for new construction, but the school plans to break ground next April once their permit applications become finalized.
Not only is the residence hall planned to benefit students, but also the city. Soundview Hall cost about $43 million to build and brought in $400,000 in building permit fees for West Haven, said Mayor John M. Picard.
It is unclear how much revenue this new building will bring, but it is expected to provide more PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) to the city.
“It’s great for the city and improving the West Haven community. It will bring revenue, temporary jobs during building and more housing. I’m very excited for their growth,” Picard said.
UNH announced their plans for the residence hall in the spring. Additional details for students and parents became available in the summer. In August, President Steven Kaplan sent a letter to students describing the physical improvements being made on campus, the eight-house demolition being one of them.