U of L prepares new housing developments

By on September 8, 2008

By Kara Augustine

For Housing Director Shannon Staten, expanding the resident population at the University of Louisville has always been the name of the game. Staten said that a year ago, Housing and Residence Life began strategizing about how they could build more residence halls.
“Our vision now is to add another 1,400 – 1,500 beds within the next 6-8 years,” Staten said. “We have begun meeting that goal by partnering with private developers to design and build new housing around campus.” ?
The university’s hopes for expansion have been successful in the past. U of L has increased the percent of enrolled students living on campus from nine to 20 percent in the past 10 years. By 2006, the developments of Bettie Johnson, Kurz and Billy Minardi halls as well as Community Park had taken the number of beds on campus from 2,000 to the current number of 3,300.
“Now with more increases in housing, it allows students to be more engaged,” Dean of Students Michael Mardis said, “to have stronger relationships with other students and create a more vibrant campus life.”
Planning has already begun on several new residence halls, one of which is called the Province, a new apartment style housing which is set to be finished by next fall. It will be located on the northwest end of campus behind Bettie Johnson Hall. The Province will hire their own team to manage the building but they will work with the housing office to set up their policies and work out the same schedules. The Province will exclusively be for upperclassmen students.
“By increasing the number of residents living on campus, we are providing an opportunity for U of L students to have a traditional college experience,” Larry Owsley, Vice President for Business Affairs, said.
Staten said these new housing developments are really just the first step in developing an even broader campus community.
“We are trying to develop college town neighborhoods that will provide housing, as well as retail and parking for the campus,” Staten said.
New retail which U of L intends to build includes a cinema, bowling alley and restaurants from which the community can also benefit.
“We want to provide the types of facilities that will be of interest for students who are on campus at night and on the weekends,” Owsley said.
Junior Equine Business major Liz Young agreed with Owsley about the positive changes the new developments will bring.
“I think you [are] going to find a lot more students staying on campus both on the weekends and in general,” Young said.
Junior civil engineering major Alex Frommeyer agrees that changes will be for the better.
“I think [development] is an extremely positive thing for U of L,” Frommeyer said. “It will allow U of L to have the resources to bring in bright young people. It’s not hard to imagine that in the near future U of L will become one of the more popular schools in the region.”

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