By Marguerite Girandola
Sacred Heart University recently acquired the land previously occupied by the Jewish Home for the Elderly on Jefferson Street in Bridgeport, which is comprised of 15.6 acres.
That space is large enough to build a residential community and a diner, both of which are in the plans for the future of the “Upper Quad.”
The project aims to accommodate expanding class sizes, as well as provide more on-campus housing to Sacred Heart students.
“Now, with the new residence hall being built, we are able to put housing on campus and make it meaningful and intentional, as opposed to taking properties from around the area and just making it work,” said Executive Director of Residential Life Joel Quintong. “We are able to design it and build it for what we want, and it’s right in the middle of campus.”
The residence hall should is scheduled to be finished sometime in 2018 and the classic New Jersey-style diner will be completed soon thereafter.
“This hall, which is the old Bennet building, will be renamed the Pierre Toussaint Hall,” said Director of Communications Deborah Noack.
Pierre Toussaint was a former slave to the French colony of Saint-Domingue who became free and then devoted his life to charity work.
“When he eventually became free, he became a well-known philanthropist, something very much in keeping with this University’s mission,” said Noack.
The residence hall will include both single and double rooms, as well as private and shared bathrooms.
Other amenities, such as study spaces, lounges, open spaces for conversation, conference rooms, security presence, card swipe entry, laundry facilities and shared kitchen spaces on each floor, will also be features of the new hall.
“The residential village will be conveniently located near the proposed student recreational facility planned for behind the end zone at Campus Field, which will provide easy access to state-of-the-art fitness equipment and more,” said Noack.
Plans to add an amphitheater to the new property is also an expected part of the construction plans.
“The buildings will shape a courtyard and an event space for residents,” said Noack.
The courtyard, in addition to the amphitheater, will offer a significant venue for outdoor events.
“This project aligns with the university’s strategic plan,” said Noack. “It supports both our goals to build new facilities and upgrade existing infrastructure to be more competitive and to increase academic excellence and distinctiveness, as campus living provides more opportunities to continue learning and discussions outside the classroom.”
The firm that is leading this project is a fully integrated, multidisciplinary firm called SLAM, which offers architecture, planning and interior design.
The same firm is also working on the new Center for Healthcare Education, which will house the College of Nursing, as well as the College of Health Professions.
Despite the noise that goes along with construction, the university will do its best to limit the inconveniences for the Sacred Heart community and the surrounding neighborhoods.