By: Todd Evans – Copy Editor
William Paterson University hopes to improve resident students’ amenities with plans for a new 288 bed residence hall across from Hillside Hall.
The university’s decision to build a new residence hall came after private consultation and feedback from students about what preferences they have for on-campus housing.
“We decided that we needed to not add more beds on campus but replace some of the older beds that we have on campus,” said Stephen Bolyai, WPU vice president for administration and finance.
The rooms in the hall are planned to be semi-suite with two students per room sharing a bathroom with two other students of the same gender.
“It’s going to be a contemporary building similar to High Mountain East and West,” Bolyai said. “It should be more appealing to students because their private space will be larger and there will also be lounges, small study spaces on every floor as well as a large meeting space on the first floor.”
Bolyai further explained that the first floor meeting space will be used not just by residents of that particular hall but also by resident students living in other halls and commuter students.
The new residence hall, designed by the architecture firm Clarke Caton Hintz, will cost about $40 million to complete. WPU plans to pay for the hall with its monetary reserves and by issuing bonds.
The estimated multi-year construction will start at the earliest this summer and at the latest this fall due to state government approvals and construction work bidding still needed to be done.
One of those state government requirements that WPU must satisfy comes from the No Net Loss Reforestation Act, which states “New Jersey state entities are required to replant trees when trees are removed during development projects involving one-half acre or more,” according to the New Jersey Environmental Protection Department.
WPU in compliance with the act has selected four areas on the northern part of campus for reforestation after the hall’s construction with assistance from geotechnical company Langan.
“The residence hall will result in 1.34 acres of deforestation,” said Michael Nevins, Langan senior project manager. “The reforestation is meant to mitigate or compensate for those impacts on the forested area and we’re plating 274 trees to mitigate for those impacts.”
Another impact of the new residence hall will be the eventual demolition of Overlook North residence hall after the new hall is completed.
Overlook North Hall is more than 30 years old and its outdated facilities influenced the idea for a new residence hall. In a few years the university will consider building another new residence hall where Overlook North presently is.