After what seems like years of constant construction and renovation at Quinnipiac University, one might think that it’s time for a break. President John Lahey disagrees.
“Our longer-term plan is to move the Law School to the North Haven campus, to Building 3, which is the nicest building,” Lahey said. “When we move the Law School to North Haven, we’ll move the School of Business into that building.”
There also is quite a bit more construction slated for York Hill. This semester, there are 520 beds in use at York Hill. By September 2011, the University plans to increase the number to 1,500.
On top of that, the administration hopes to move nearly all of Quinnipiac’s graduate schools to North Haven, including the School of Education, the MBA program and Quinnipiac University Online.
Lahey says that the reasoning for expanding student housing so much was to bring seniors back on campus.
“We very much miss seniors…We wanted to try to get them back on campus for their maturity and their leadership,” he said.
“We wanted a true, four-year residential experience,” Director of Residential Life Cindy Long Porter added.
This necessitated quite a shake-up in the housing selection process, as before York Hill was opened, there was no senior housing on campus. Next year, the ninth floor of the Crescent, the New Village buildings at York Hill, Whitney Village and University-owned off-campus houses will be open to seniors. This information was communicated to juniors in an e-mail on Monday, Oct. 5.
That e-mail also informed students that instead of using the much maligned housing lottery system, senior housing would be given on a first-come, first-served basis to students who had already paid their housing deposits. As of Friday, Oct. 9, 227 seniors had paid.
Some students thought the school should have given out information on senior housing sooner, before the school allowed students to reserve housing.
“It was really confusing,” junior Jason Jacobs said. “They kind of just sent out an e-mail and said, ‘GO! Good luck.'”
Junior Peter Lupi also found himself longing for the lottery.
“It’s just too rushed, everyone’s scrambling to find people,” he said. “You need a lottery to know where you stand first, then pick.”
There will be 126 spots available in the New Village buildings at York Hill. According to Porter, these are nearly identical to the New Village housing on the Mount Carmel campus.The two key differences are that the York Hill New Village buildings will house six students as opposed to seven and will feature a kitchen. Porter felt that it was important to remove the triple from the York Hill New Village dorms because “students who are seniors are not getting apartments in the community where there are three students living in one bedroom.”
Lahey is of the opinion that the York Hill New Village dorms should be renamed to avoid confusion.
“When we ask students where they live, they’ll say ‘the Villages,’ and we will not know whether they mean the Villages. on Mount Carmel, the Village apartments at Whitney or these so-called ‘Villages at York Hill,'” he said.
Lahey said that the York Hill Student Center should be completed this spring, and will certainly be ready for next fall. Once completed, some events allowing alcohol will likely be held at the new Student Center, as part of a new set of relaxed rules for seniors living on campus. Alcohol will also be allowed in the lounges of senior-only housing areas, as part of a “special package for seniors in terms of socializing and alcohol-related events,” Lahey said. He also said that seniors would be allowed to register two guests at a time.
There are plans to build athletic fields at York Hill, and tickets for TD Bank Sports Center events may be offered to York Hill residents before the rest of the student body.
The price of the Crescent will also be reduced from $10,100 to $8,000. Seniors living at York Hill will again receive a $500 meal plan, but they will now be refunded for any meal money they don’t use.
Porter and Lahey were both pleased with the new policy of giving seniors a 10-month lease for housing. Students will be able to move in Aug. 1 and stay until May 30. Lahey said this could possibly be used in conjunction with Senior Week activities. He also mentioned that this is preferable to the 12-month leases that are often used for off-campus housing, which leaves students paying for more months than they need.
Lahey said that Quinnipiac is also buying property on Whitney Avenue, as part of a plan to make the route between Mount Carmel and York Hill more of a “college Main Street.” He said that the stretch of Whitney from Mount Carmel Avenue to Ives Street is “not the most attractive collection of things right now.” The University plans to facilitate the building of coffee shops, bookstores, hotels and retail stores aimed at college students. According to Lahey, there will likely be significant development on that part of Whitney in the next five years.
The displacement of the Law School to North Haven will also take quite some time, as Building 3 will not be available to Quinnipiac for five to seven years because it is still being used by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Lahey stressed that moving graduate programs to North Haven will free up space on campus, especially when it comes to parking. It will also allow the School of Communications and School of Business to have their own buildings on the Mount Carmel campus.
Rounding out the construction will be a renovation of Alumni Hall to transform it into an expanded Student Center, and a renovation of Burt Kahn to accommodate the type of events that are now held in Alumni Hall.