Lahey: “Campus strong”

Jamie DeLoma

In an exclusive Chronicle interview, Lahey addressed what the university is doing to improve campus life for the Quinnipiac community.

Lahey said to address student overcrowding concerns, the university is actively talking to Hamden about adding 1,000 additional beds for students – primarily seniors – to live in on the Sherman Avenue campus. He said the recently-elected mayor of Hamden, Craig Henricci, a Quinnipiac law school graduate, is eager to have as many students live on campus as possible.

“He is certainly a person we can work with,” Lahey said.

Overall, Lahey called the campus-town relations “very good.”

Lahey said there are plans to add additional 600-800 parking spots in addition to the 600 arena parking spots.

Referring to the lack of on-campus parking, Lahey said Quinnipiac now has the support of the town to do what is needed to alleviate shortages, something the town resisted until the new mayor.

“We are moving very quickly,” Lahey said.

He said the arena project is moving ahead on target. Lahey said the arena will be finished in December and will open for games in January when students return.

Likewise, Lahey said the university’s $100 million long-term strategic plan is on track. He recently had a meeting with the Board of Trustees where the deans of the different schools and colleges offered reports. He hopes for approval by the board by May but would not be alarmed if it was delayed slightly until the next academic year.

“The Sherman Ave. campus is a godsend for us,” Lahey said. “People will come to appreciate us when we address the classrooms and parking.”

He said the residence halls on the Sherman Avenue campus will surround a new student life building to accommodate numerous meetings and student health clubs.

In a more short-term plan, Lahey said the current student center on Mount Carmel Avenue will be renovated.

Perhaps as early as this summer, the center will undergo a $2.5 million renovation that will convert the game room and music listening lounge into more space effective, student-centered rooms.

In addition, the university is considering options surrounding converting the current soon to be deserted gymnasium into a more student-friendly environment.

He said Quinnipiac is planning to convert part of the building into space for clubs and meeting rooms.

Quinnipiac is planning on adding a glass sunroom to fill the roof area adjacent to the cafeteria into student dining space. He said the new construction would free up space that could be better utilized for student use.

The university is also considering moving student media organizations to the new communications center in Echlin after the move, Lahey said.

Current freshmen will likely see the completed renovations by next year, Lahey said.

Quinnipiac is not planning on increasing undergraduate enrollment, Lahey said. For the past five years, Quinnipiac has accepted 1300-1350 undergraduates each year, building a total undergraduate enrollment of approximately 5,200 students.

“We do not anticipate seeing those numbers changing,” Lahey said.

Lahey said part time faculty at Quinnipiac is not a problem.

“We do not have too many part time faculty members,” he said.

He said 20-25% of courses are taught by part time professors.

“This is not an inappropriate range,” he said.

After hearing student concerns at a recent Student Government Association meeting, Lahey said the university is working to remedy two primary student concerns.

Among these concerns, Lahey said he is working on adding additional seats in the library by the fall.

He is also working to improve current space and exploring taking over another room in the Irma residence hall to expand Health Services. He said the university is working to expand the current single examination room for the summer as well as working on a longer term plan.

“The quality, not size, of the university will continue to grow,” Lahey said. “The current freshmen will see that by adding buildings and faculty, the overall experience and quality of life will improve.”