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Village IV: More housing, less parking
The university has begun construction of additional dormitories behind the Village residence halls, which has resulted in the loss of 134 parking spaces in the Hilltop parking lot.
The construction will result in the creation of 14 buildings that will house an additional 330 students. Village currently houses 336 students.
“We hope to have substantial completion in time for the opening of the 2007-2008 academic year,” said Joseph Rubertone, associate vice president for Facilities Administration.
Rubertone points out that substantial completion differs from total completion. The new construction will likely be finished during the beginning of the fall 2007 semester.
“It’s a very optimistic and aggressive schedule,” he said.
The new dorms will extend from the Ledges dormitory to the Commons dormitory and will be parallel to the Hilltop parking lot.
“They are going to be identical to what already exists in the Village,” Rubertone said.
The current Village complex includes a common room, bedrooms and a bathroom for each individual suite. The construction company, FIP, is responsible for building the addition to the Village.
Rubertone does not classify the project as heavy construction, although the construction company will use equipment such as bulldozers.
The construction plan calls for a construction process similar to that of a house.
Rubertone acknowledges the construction will yield problems such as noise, the closure of walkways, and scheduled electrical outages for students living in Village. He emphasizes that the university will take all measures to reduce inconvenience caused by electrical outages to students.
“We will try to do it during vacation periods, but if we cannot it will be announced in advance,” he said.
The construction has also resulted in the removal of 134 parking spots in the Hilltop parking lot. The removal of these parking spots will likely last the entire school year.
“If in such time we feel that we can take those spaces back, that they don’t need them anymore, we definitely will, but right now we think it’s going to take a whole year,” said Ron Colavolpe, assistant chief of security and the supervisor of parking.
The completion of the construction will result in the loss of 10 parking spots in Hilltop from its current 588 parking spots.
“At the end the effect on Hilltop parking lot will be insignificant,” Rubertone said.
Nevertheless, the loss of any number of parking spots is likely to be an issue of concern to students.
“I understand why students are frustrated; it’s because most juniors want Hilltop parking,” said Jennifer Rosenbaum, vice president for student concerns of the Student Government Association.
The university issued parking passes based upon FIP’s request that it cordon off 110 parking spots in the Hilltop lot. Later, the university learned FIP required the closure off an additional 24 spots.
As a result of FIP’s initial assessment, the university issued 24 more parking passes for Hilltop than there are spaces available.
However, Colavolpe emphasizes that students who were issued Hilltop parking permits are allowed to park in North Lot without concern for ticketing or towing.
Students expect the construction to be an annoyance this year.
“It’s annoying waking up in the morning from a chainsaw,” said Steve Klag, a junior and resident of Village.
Some students wonder why the university did not begin the project during the summer break.
“I don’t know why they would wait until school is in session to start the construction,” said Mike Bennett, a junior and a resident of Village.
Rubertone stresses that the university is eager to ease students’ burdens.
“The university recognizes that this construction has been and will continue to be an inconvenience for our students, but we will attempt to make it as convenient as possible,” Rubertone said.
While the construction will provide annoyances to students this year, students are mindful that it is to create additional on-campus living.
“While I do like the atmosphere of a small school, it has to be bigger to make a name for itself,” said Alex Figura, a sophomore journalism major.
The expansion of campus housing may ultimately benefits students.
“Students should be patient, because in the big picture it’s improving campus,” Rosenbaum said.