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Dorm construction leads city’s growth skyward

Jason D. Cox
Staff Writer

As the University of La Verne continues to grow and mature, so too does the city of La Verne.

However land availability has its limits, and when building outward is no longer possible, there is nowhere to go but up.

“We don’t have much land, but we keep growing and need more facility space,” Executive Vice President Phil Hawkey said.

ULV’s new residence hall, currently under construction on D Street between Second Street and Arrow High­way, is an example of La Verne growing upward.

Buildings in La Verne have traditionally been held to a height limit of 35 feet. The new residence hall may be the beginning of a trend here as the University grows.

Designed to be four stories tall and stand at more than 50 feet, the residence hall clearly exceeds the previous 35-foot limit, which was put in place primarily for fire safety based on limited equipment and staffing, and secondarily for aesthetic purposes.

“The La Verne Fire Depart­ment gives its input on the height limitations placed on the buildings throughout the city,” Fire Chief John F. Breaux said. “But the city fathers are the ones who make the final policies.”

While the city is willing to make some allowances to accommodate its current growth, La Verne residents do not need to worry that La Verne will be overtaken by towering skyscrapers.

“The mayor and the city council are looking to change things in an aesthetically pleasing way where fire safety features are taken into account,” La Verne Community Develop­ment Director Hal G. Fredericksen said.

“The key word for this type of development is balance.”

To gain city approval for the new residence hall, University administrators had to work with the city council and the La Verne Fire Department.

ULV is paying the city 50 cents per square foot to help moderate any inherent issues for a building of this size. The city will then take this revenue and place it into a fund for the fire department. The same arrangement was made with the city for the Campus Center, which opened in 2009, costing the University an extra $20,100.

The city of La Verne has essentially been built up, leaving few large tracts of land. As a community grows, what often happens is the city and the University are in redevelopment mode. This involves repurposing some properties as well as developing property that is currently vacant.

For ULV, this will involve the redevelopment of facilities such as the Stu-Han residence hall, and possibly Brandt Hall.

For the city, the vacant lot on Foothill Boulevard between White Avenue and Garey Ave­nue is one example of this redevelopment.

What used to be the Person Ford dealership is now very close to being developed into a mixed-use facility for commercial use as well as residential apartments.

Within the next seven years, the city is scheduled to host a station for the new Metro Gold Line extension, located near east campus, on E Street between First Street and Arrow Highway.

The city council and other La Verne officials are in the planning stages for increased residential units near the station.

When approved the units will put a high density of residents within convenient walking distance of the Gold Line for their daily commute.

Jason D. Cox can be reached at

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