In response to the many issues last year concerning current sophomores not receiving housing until the summer, Colorado College Residential Life is planning to develop a new area of housing on campus.

The housing plan is still in its conceptual phase, but will ideally be apartment-style living that caters to Colorado College upperclassmen.  The building will be constructed on the city block between Nevada and Weber, and Uintah and San Rafael, in the area current students informally refer to as the “Twomp” parking lot.

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Residential Life plans on sending out a Request for Proposal by the middle of December, and hope to have multiple architects submit concept designs for the project by the end of January 2015.

Associate Director of Residential Life and Housing, Justin Weis, explained that the bed count and number of student rooms have decreased since the renovation of buildings like Slocum and Mathias.  Additionally, Residential Life understands the increasing need for more independent upperclassman living, especially in the junior class.

IMG_0836 copy“It’s a combination of replacing some beds that we know may go away in the future,” said Weis. “But we also understand that our freshman class has reached a new number, and we will need a few more spaces to accommodate them [as they get older].”

Colorado College will call the new neighborhood community East Campus.  This new area will have approximately 150 to 200 beds and will be a combination of cottage-like housing options, similar to what currently exists along Weber Street, and a new apartment complex where the current parking lot is.

Current houses around the Mathias parking lot. Photos by Veronica Spann.
Current houses around the Mathias parking lot. Photos by Veronica Spann.

Because the project is in its beginning stages, there is no cost estimate yet.  However, the funds will come from a construction bond, which is similar to a mortgage loan.

Like the costs, the construction timeline is still not concrete and depends on the design. There are still many issues to work out such as utilities, city codes, and the relocation of  current parking. Because of this, Weis said that Residential Life would ideally like the new neighborhood to have a fall 2015 debut but will certainly not be complete by then.

There are several other housing projects underway.  The renovation of the Western Ridge apartments will continue, with plans for the renovation of Antero Hall being set for summer 2015.  Additionally, there will be several roofing projects to recover the damage done by last May’s hailstorm.

Residential Life also hopes to complete several smaller renovation and renewal projects this summer, but the new East Campus neighborhood planning process is their biggest project.  The last Colorado College housing that was built from scratch was the Western Ridge apartments between 1999 and 2000.

“This is a big deal,” said Weis. “We don’t construct buildings every year, so we are going to take the time, effort, and energy to assure the planning is complete and create a concept design that our students, the campus community, and the Colorado Springs community can support and get excited about.”

One of the primary intentions of the current housing projects, Weis explained, is to incorporate spaces in which the CC community can gather together and collaborate.

“We require students to live three years on campus versus two years like most other schools because we want to build communities for students to collaborate with other students,” said Weis. “We feel that building relationships during your college experience is a priority, and what better way to do that then to live and collaborate amongst students in and out of your major.”

Weis continued to explain that the transition between each type of housing paralleled the types of growth students experience throughout college.

“The type of housing we provide lends the opportunity to grow as one lives in a variety of housing types,” said Weis. “The traditional hall experience is centered around relationships and allows students to focus on their transition to college life. The small community options provide more independence, a step towards real-world living. These different living environments aid in a transition to adulthood.”

Residential Life organized five focus groups to better understand Colorado College students’ needs.  Each group had five to eight students.  Additionally, there was one group per class year, and one mixed-class group.  They felt that one of the biggest housing needs was for more apartment style housing for juniors.

“One of the biggest issues with the current housing is that there are a lot of juniors who do not get into apartments,” said sophomore Bethany Porten. “They are then required to live in the dorms for a third year, despite being ready to have the responsibilities of an apartment.”

Residential Life plans to release more information as they progress on the plans for the renovations.

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