By Lian Mlodzienski
University Properties, Inc. (UPI) held a public meeting on August 28 in order to discuss the plans for the new suites style residence hall that ESU intends to build.
Everyone was encouraged to attend the meeting including ESU students and citizens of East Stroudsburg and the surrounding areas of Monroe County. The meeting gave attendees the opportunity to ask questions about the new housing project.
Vice President of Administration and Finance, Kenneth Long, opened the meeting by introducing William Hibschman, chairman of UPI, and Hank Colker, the architect from WTW Architects.
There was a short presentation on the location of this new residence hall and the layout of the building. Discussion included environmental studies, financing, and need for a new residence hall.
Before a new suite could be developed, environmental studies must be done and financing secured. In phase 1 of this process, an environmental study showed no negative impacts.
This meeting was also held as a part of the process of securing financing through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If ESU can secure financing through this federal program, it will receive lower bond rates.
An important consideration at this meeting is the end cost for students to live in these new suites per semester. Long said, “The key thing behind this is that if it’s cost prohibited, we can’t structure it in a way that’s beneficial. And then we can’t do it because it’s student housing and to pay for it, we have to raise student fees…If student fees are out of line, we can’t move forward.”
Demand for a new building is an important factor in determining whether or not to construct a new building. The Director of Residence Life and Housing, Robert Moses, said that about 60 percent of freshman request suites.
This fall, there was a problem finding resident students rooms to number of students returning to ESU and staying on campus.
The Associate Director of Residence Life and Housing, David Campbell, believes that “new housing is necessary and as soon as possible.”
He continued, “The suites remain a very popular housing option for ESU students.” Although there had been planning for a large class this fall, there were many late housing requests that needed to be taken care of as well.
It is hard to predict how many new students will accept offers to join the ESU community each year, but planning for next fall will begin soon. During this planning many scenarios will be discussed along with new ways to address any possible overflow.
A new building, such as the suite being planned, will be one solution to the overflow that occurred this year. The new building will be located across the street from the Flagler Metzger Center. Currently, there is a parking lot and walkway in that area.
If the new residence hall is built, the area will undergo new landscaping. The building will look like a mirror image to Hemlock Suites. Parking will be rearranged around the new building and a new quad will be created between the two buildings.
The interior of the building will also look like Hemlock Suites, as the new building will be a suite style dormitory. A recreation center will potentially be added to the first floor of the new building. Lounges and laundry rooms will remain the same as in Hemlock Suites.
Room options will vary as they do now. For example, some rooms will have four individual bedrooms with a living room and kitchenette. Others will have two individual bedrooms with a kitchenette. All of the rooms will have a bathroom to be shared with suitemates.
One attendee of this meeting, Eric Kump, a sophomore art and design major, said, “The designs for the new building look fantastic and I am excited to see the finished building.”
Student Senate President, Drew Johnson, said, “I believe that this new housing will greatly benefit our University as a whole in the long run.”
There will be more meetings in regards to the building plans for this project. If there are any questions about the new housing project, please email University Properties Inc. at UniversityProperties@esu.edu.
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