By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer
Washington, D.C.—A dedicated residential neighborhood for underclassmen will be established at Howard University in Washington, D.C., according to development plans announced by Philadelphia-based Campus Apartments.
The plans call for the development of modern living-learning facilities accommodating 1,360 students. Estimated to cost $107 million, the facilities are expected to be complete by August 2014.
“As colleges and universities compete for students, they’re always looking at the next edge in terms of recruitment,” Daniel Bernstein, Campus Apartments’ executive vice president and chief investment officer, tells MHN. “Howard wants to build a kind of neighborhood for freshmen and sophomores.”
The project will encompass two on-campus residential facilities built close to current facilities, which should help energize the campus’s southeast core.
The residential facilities will feature two-person semi-suites for underclassmen, as well as study and social lounges, game rooms, laundry rooms and independent apartment units for faculty, staff and guests. Also included will be a multipurpose room accommodating 200 people, and classrooms, academic advisory offices and the university’s newly relocated Office of Residence Life.
Financing for the development is being provided through tax-exempt bonds issued by the District of Columbia.
According to Vice President for Student Affairs Barbara Griffin, the neighborhood-style development will help create a strong sense of community for students, as well as promote collaborative opportunities across the university. When complete, the project will be a major advancement in Howard University’s plan to provide a holistic residential life experience, she says.
Urban projects are often more difficult, due to zoning issues and/or the urban infill nature of the work, Bernstein says.
“This had a long incubation period that centered on the that fact we wanted to make sure the design and use were right,” he adds. “You get one bite of the apple with these projects, and we wanted to make sure it hit the mark with the institutional mission.”
The new buildings will be constructed on two current parking lots, Bernstein adds. “We didn’t have to knock a building down; it was empty land,” he says. “It will be situated there to energize the Fourth St. corridor, a prominent corridor on a boundary of campus. We’ve put together a fantastic development team, with our architect and general contractor, and we don’t anticipate any issues through the construction period leading up to delivery in the fall of 2014.”
In addition to helping implement Howard’s live-learn policies and enabling freshmen and sophomores to better socialize, the project should provide the university with another major advantage.
“These buildings will help Howard in its efforts to recruit and retain the best and brightest students,” Bernstein says.