On April 20, St. Ambrose President Sister Joan Lescinski announced that a new residence hall is being planned for the Ambrose campus.
Matt Hansen, assistant dean of students and director of Residence Life, said that construction is proposed to begin this summer.
“If all goes according to plan, the residence hall will be ready for student use in August of 2012,” Hansen said.
Current students will remember that a new residence hall was proposed this time last year, only to be shut down when problems arose with community members. Hansen said that since this residence hall has yet to be proposed, it is hard to determine what the city’s response will be.
“We are optimistic that we have met the request of both groups [the neighborhood and city] by completing the parking study as well as the master planning,” Hansen said. “We hope that the neighbors and city embrace this construction as a win-win to provide jobs, increase housing on campus by lowering the need for off-campus rentals, and address their other concerns.”
Mark Waitkus, recently elected SGA president, said a new residence hall would be a great addition to the Ambrose campus.
“St. Ambrose has a reputation of providing its students with some of the highest quality residential living in the Midwest,” Waitkus said. “This is something that would again be evident in a new building.”
Waitkus also said that a new residence hall would alleviate some of the problems that students face due to overcrowding-namely freshmen living in lounges and upperclassmen being asked to live off campus.
The proposed residence hall will house at least 200 students. It follows the same plan as the residence hall that was discussed last year-being partially preferred and partially traditional.
“The plan from last year was roughly two-thirds traditional, like Bechtel, and one third preferred, like Hagen but not with a separate living room and kitchen,” Hansen said.
Hansen said that the future demolition of the townhouses, combined with housing projections, will require a new residence hall that provides at least partial housing for preferred residents.
While the thought of traditional and preferred students sharing a residence hall could raise some problems, Waitkus thinks a building with a mixed population could be successful.
“I actually do not see this being as big of an issue as it may seem,” Waitkus said. “We currently have mixed populations of residents that range from sophomores and seniors in Tiedemann/Hagan and New Hall. Our student body has proven extremely willing to work and live with a diverse range of student age groups.”
If the plans are carried out, the new residence hall will be located on the corner of Lombard and Harrison.
“That location allows us to build in residence row [the row consisting of Bechtel, Tiedemann, Hagen and Franklin] without having to remove any current structures,” Hansen said.
While it remains to be seen if this residence hall will suffer the same fate of its proposed predecessor, it is evident that the Ambrose campus will, at some point and time, get a much-deserved makeover.