St. John’s will break ground later this month on the construction of 16 townhouses to be located opposite St. Augustine Hall near the Great Lawn, according to Brij Anand, vice president of Facilities Services. The new student housing will assist in adding 450 beds to the University’s ever-growing housing shortage. The construction is set for completion in August 2008.
“We have a great demand for housing,” Anand said. “The more students we can keep on campus, the better it is for the University as a community.”
In addition to housing students, the three-story residential buildings will include living quarters for priests that currently reside in St. Vincent Hall. That building will be converted into a residential building for students working on service learning, according to Dominic Scianna, director of Media Relations.While the construction of the townhouses will assist in reducing the University’s on-campus residential gap, St. John’s does not expect it to completely alleviate its housing shortage.
“We’ve looked at all of our options with off-campus housing and the feeling is that the demand will be higher as time goes by,” Anand said. “So we will continue looking outside campus so that we will have something available in time when we need it.”
The newest batch of projects that the University has or will embark on in coming years will cost an estimated $150 million, all of which will be funded by the University’s recently completed Capital Campaign, a fundraising effort that brought in $272 million for the University.
When asked whether there was ever consideration of building larger dormitories to aid the housing shortage, Anand responded: “We talked about that in the process and we decided that we didn’t want to build things that would look odd in the neighborhood.”
The University has embarked on a concerted effort to improve the aesthetics of the Queens campus by using a “common architectural language” when discussing new projects, according to Anand.
In addition to the townhouses, the board of trustees has begun to implement multiple other campus renovations, all part of a Strategic Plan that has led to the construction of the new Writing Institute, the Sullivan Caf√©, and the renovation of St. Albert Hall laboratories, among other projects.
The final major project that the University has announced as part of its Strategic Plan is the construction of a new University Center and academic building, which will be separate parts of one building. Originally slated as two separate structures within the Queens Campus, the University has decided to pursue a more economic option.
“Beyond the townhouses, the other part that is still on the drawing board is the whole notion of the University Center and the academic building,” Anand said. “We have gone back and forth on [the idea of combining the two projects into one building] in order to conserve parking…we will combine them into a single structure across from Sun Yat Sen.”
The construction of the new UC/academic building, which is currently in its pre-schematic stages, is set to be completed in August 2009.