New residence hall changes Old Town.
by Jason D. Cox
photography by Brittney Slater-Shew
Standing four stories tall (more than 50 feet), Vista La Verne is being called the tallest building in the city of La Verne. Come fall 2012, it will be the place 378 University of La Verne students will call home. Units will house up to six students and will be a leap forward in comfort and entertainment technology. The first floor will house 59 students, the second, third and fourth floors will respectively each hold 106 students. On every floor of Vista La Verne, students will enjoy access to study rooms and computer labs, each filled with cutting edge equipment.
With the word out about the amenities and thoughtful attention given to convenience and comfort for student residents, Vista La Verne filled up quickly for fall. But filling the residence hall was the easy part. More difficult will be filling the free time of college students when they are not preoccupied with academic responsibilities.
With hundreds of new student residents coming in September, merchants in Old Town La Verne are giving serious thought to this challenge. Some are optimistic; others are anxious, but they all realize that the dynamic of Old Town will be severely rocked, whether it is ready or not.
Ken McKinley (above), a manager at T. Phillips Alehouse and Grill, is concerned about the impact a wave of new students might have on the parking situation of Old Town but can see the brighter side. The demographic of the area is changing, but Ken says, in the end, “it’ll help the city of La Verne and will positively affect the restaurant.”
Judy Moore, co-owner of Café Cabo, has a sunny outlook on the promise of more students in Old Town. “I think we’re all excited,” Judy says. “The life they’re going to bring is going to be fabulous, and I think we need that. The students will be great for business.”
Brian McNerney, president and CEO of La Verne’s Chamber of Commerce, says, “One advantage is that students can walk to wherever they need to go. The problem is that whenever you bring that many humans together into one area, they bring their cars.”
While there may be some challenges ahead for residents and merchants in Old Town, the overall effect looks likely to be positive. “Any time there is growth in the population, it helps the economy,” Brian says.