Fairfield University exploring new initiatives for campus housing


Mark C. Reed, vice president of Student Affairs at Fairfield University, has announced that the University is working on a plan, to be submitted to the appropriate Town boards for approval, that would provide more residential space for students on campus, while providing improved and more independent options for juniors and seniors.

"This new initiative," he said, "not only addresses the need for more student housing on campus, but also responds to Fairfield's desire to foster a distinct living and learning environment and culture."

The only completely new facility on the drawing board is a new residence for the Fairfield Jesuit Community. At the initiation and request of the Fairfield Jesuit Community, a new Jesuit Community Center would be constructed on the hill south of Bellarmine Hall and north of the Dolan School of Business and Maintenance Barn. The new center and home would better meet the needs of today's Jesuit community and provide the Jesuits with a more visible and integral presence on campus.

As a result of the Jesuits occupying a new home on campus, the property and buildings on the southeast corner of campus would be transferred from the Jesuits to Fairfield University. The proposed plan would convert the present Jesuit residence, St. Ignatius Hall, into housing for undergraduate students, providing two-person suites for a total of 68 juniors and seniors. If the plans meet with approval, the new Jesuit Community Center would be completed in the early summer of 2008 and the students would take up residence in the renovated former Jesuit residence in the fall of 2008.

To integrate the new student community into the rest of the university, plans call for closing off the driveway onto Barlow Road and constructing a roadway that would connect the student residence with the internal campus.

The third project, that would also provide more student housing, makes use of space that is already constructed. Almost all of the units in the townhouse complex on the northeast corner of campus have full, unfinished basements. By renovating the basements into garden apartments, distinct and separate from the upstairs units, the university would add residential space for 90 more juniors and seniors.

In order to convert the basements, the area in front of the existing units would be excavated to create adequate entranceways and means of egress, as well as sufficient windows, for the new garden-level apartments. Two additional laundry areas would be installed to provide more convenient access to laundry facilities for all townhouse residents.

To accommodate for additional parking that the increase in town house residents would require, new and direct walkways and access points would be constructed from the townhouse complex to the nearby Walsh Athletic Center parking lot which has excess capacity.

In making the announcement, Mr. Reed said, "As Fairfield implements programs and initiatives which support our strategic plan, especially the goals involving an integrated living and learning environment and culture, additional renovations and improvements to existing residence halls, such as improved lounges, common areas, and staff or faculty apartments, are being considered."

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 14, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 148