By Jacqueline Stoughton
Construction crews at CCSU will be breaking ground on a two-year project to build a new residence hall, adding to the nine existing ones; this will be the largest residency out of all four CSU schools.
The new structure will be located “down the hill,” in the open greenery between the Student Center parking garage and Ella Grasso Boulevard. The university intends to have the building ready for student move-in at the start of fall 2015 semester.
“We always hope for the best with these sort of things, we would like to be done within two years,” says Richard Bachoo, Chief Administrative Officer. “Rather sooner than later.”
According to Bachoo, this new residence hall will be the single largest residence hall out of the four CSU schools. It will contain 600 beds throughout eight floors, a 2,000 square foot fitness facility, a kitchen on some floors, and a server kitchen on the main floor. The Residence Life office will also be moved from its current location in Barrows Hall into the new facility.
“More importantly, this facility is going to let the university to actually improve its inventory on housing,” says Bachoo. “Central is the only four year public university in the state that had not built a new residence hall in over a decade.”
Within the last couple of years, CCSU has also contributed an immense amount of time and money into upgrading their already existing residence halls on campus. This includes re-gutting them, installing air conditioning, among other improvements.
“We still have a number that are in great need of being fully in compliance with code and being brought to a level that is more, overall, comfortable for living,” says Bachoo.
Bobby Berriault, CCSU Student Senator, says, “This is a really good thing. From an administrative stand point, this would allow the university to take some of the older residence halls offline to renovate them to make them nicer and more modern.”
However, some students feel that existing, more important issues should be of higher priority before embarking on new construction.
“I can see where CCSU’s intentions are, however, there are far more important issues the school could focus on,” says Stephanie Brody, CCSU student. “Without a doubt, every student thinks we need more parking on campus because the few garages we do have are absolute nightmares when it comes to finding a spot.”
Brody also stated that, since the university has a large commuter population, it should be a priority to provide enough parking for students.
“The only downside is there is no plans to provide additional parking,” says Berriault. “The concern is there will be a lot more people trying to park in the student center parking lot and garage. It will be a lot harder to find parking there since they’re competing with commuter students.”
Although this is a concern in the minds of many students, the university is not worried at all. CCSU has been developing a new strategic plan to raise university enrollment, the construction of this new residence hall included.
“There’s no reason this enrollment plan will not be affective,” says Bachoo. “We want to encourage more students to live on campus. But, at the end of the day, we’re still a commuter school.”
With Carroll Hall as the first residence hall to go offline, the plan is to move 300 current students out of their residence hall in order for the university to continue renovations within the older dorms. There will be 300 beds left in the new facility to provide for incoming students.
The $82 million project will create a dormitory of solely suite style rooms. It is assumed the cost of living will remain the same for the students that move in.
Bachoo states that “They haven’t priced it out yet, but I would assume it will include additional pricing because it includes additional amenities, similar to James Hall.”