The Town of Fairfield Plan and Zoning Commission has approved plans for two new dorm halls to be built at Sacred Heart where the Bowman Hall parking lot currently resides.
According to the Connecticut Post, the proposed buildings would be three stories tall and connected by a bridge on the third floor, adding 115 four-person suites with a total of 484 beds. The proposal also includes building a single-story parking deck, for a total of 219 parking spots.
They are set to be built on campus behind the newsest dorm/dining hall building named Thea Bowman – and will face Jefferson Street.
“Looking at the basic design, it seems like it would fit sophomores since our goal is to bring sophomores from Pioneer Gardens to campus,” said Director of Residential Life Gregory Madrid. “I know the article in the paper said freshman, but to me, Mother Teresa makes much more sense for the freshmen. Again, numbers drive things, so if we had 200 more freshmen next year, then it shifts us.”
While some students may be excited for the new dorms, others are just as excited for more parking spots on-campus.
“I think the addition of parking spots will be really nice for students with cars at school because some days it is hard to find parking spots,” said sophomore Julie Moresco. “Especially on days when there are events going on, it is much harder to find a spot.”
Some Fairfield residents have concerns about the construction specifically about the potential traffic being caused in the area surrounding the university.
“Traffic was one of the issues because they thought it would mean 450 more cars in the neighborhood,” said Larry Wielk, Dean of Students. “But our mentality is these halls are meant to bring people back on to campus primarily from places like Oakwood and Pioneer Gardens so there would be fewer people driving to and from campus so that would minimize traffic issues.”
The new dorms will not be the only construction in the upcoming months, Seton Hall will also be receiving some renovations this summer.
“An extensive amount of work is going to be done on Seton this year. We are taking all the brick off the building and refacing it,” said Wielk. “We are doing the necessary renovations to prevent the buildup of moisture in the building. The day after commencement, the building will be shut down and it likely won’t be finished until about a week before school starts. We will likely do the same in Merton next summer. Both buildings just can’t get done in one summer.”
However, the question still arises if West Campus will ever hold housing for students in the future.
“At this point, there aren’t any definitive plans, and partly because it would be isolating students,” said Wielk. “Say we put these new buildings at West Campus, in the evenings it would be really isolated. They wouldn’t have any facilities and would have to come back to campus to work out.”
As for what is possible for the future, there is a consideration for apartments to be built by the Center for Healthcare Education (CHE).
“There is some property that we own up next to the CHE that we just purchased,” said Wielk. “It is likely that down the road we might consider putting some apartments up there and those would likely be for upper class health students, as well as some graduate students.”
While the prospect of construction may be on the rise, many students are looking forward to the new dorms in hopes to have more students on-campus and improve morale.
“The dorms being built will only offer good things going forward in the community,” said sophomore Sarah Wille. “Students will not feel isolated, and we will be able to bring more students to main campus.”