Renovations planned at Ambrose

St. Ambrose University has big plans to build more residence halls and expand the university. But according to Matt Hansen, director of Residence Life, students don’t have to worry about losing the townhouses anytime soon.

“As St. Ambrose grows, we have needs for both traditional and preferred housing,” Hansen said.

The SAU master plan was created by the architectural firm VOA and it serves all aspect of the campus, not just residence halls. The firm has held open forums and invited students and alumni to come view the plans and ask questions about the renovations.

Many students have been talking about the renovations but Hansen says there are still many decisions to be made.

“We plan for students to live in townhouses for the 2011-2012 school year,” Hansen said.

He also said that renovations on the townhouses would start the summer of 2012 at the earliest.

The renovations involving the townhouses would include two different phases.

Phase one, Hansen said, would take out the Schneider townhouses and replace them with a residence hall.  Phase two would take the rest of the townhouses, but preserve the green space between townhouses.

“If we do it right, it wouldn’t take away green space,” Hansen said.

The quad space would stay the same, and the green space between the townhouses and Cosgrove would become a recreational space for students.

The new residence halls will potentially replace the townhouses. The proposed plan allows the space to still be used for housing, but the new dormitories will house more students.

Since the current townhouses hold about 32 students, Hansen said the space is somewhat inefficient. New residence halls would provide living space for hundreds of students. There are still factors to decide with the new renovations, and Hansen said nothing is final.

“We have to look at the size of the footprint, and how much money we have to spend,” Hansen said.

As for the style of the dorms, Hansen said the plan is still undecided but there are some ideas.

The most likely plan is more of a combination building. The preferred-style rooms will have single bedrooms with a common room in addition to bathrooms and kitchen.  The single bedroom style is favored most by students, Hansen said, and the university would like to accommodate that.

As for the names of the new residence halls in the plans, Hansen is unsure. Currently, the new residence hall behind Bechtel will be called New #7.

Hansen hopes that somehow the legacy of the Schneider, Andrews, Strub and Sudbrook townhouses will be carried on after the renovations are complete in the future.

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