Dynamic Digs

November 16, 2010 by University of La Verne

New Residence Hall will be a stylish, on-campus home for 387 students

Sometime next spring, right about the time the sparkling, newly renovated Ann & Steve Morgan Auditorium is unveiled, the University of La Verne will take another step toward attracting and better serving students.

That is when the university will begin work on its next project, one that will rival the impact of the Campus Center on current and future students.  A brand-new residence hall that will accommodate 387 students and parking for more than 300 cars will be built just east of the Campus Center.

Creating the new residence hall is part of the university’s 10-year Master Plan for Campus Development, and is a strong move toward giving La Verne an edge in attracting residential undergraduate students.

“Our primary motivation is the mission we have at the University of La Verne to be a viable, traditional undergraduate residential institution,” University President Steve Morgan said. “We do a great job at La Verne with young students who come here and have their lives transformed by the caring, nurturing, challenging environment we have here. That is going to be tremendously enhanced by greater opportunities for students to live on campus.”

Morgan cited research that shows students who live on campus have a more positive college experience. They get better grades, are more involved in student activities, are closer to the faculty, and become engaged alumni.

“So, as we build this new residence hall, it’s a part of the philosophy that we do something special at La Verne,” Morgan said. “That’s just going to be strengthened by having a greater residential population. By having more students living on campus, it’s going to bring more energy, dynamism and involvement of the students on campus.”

The four-story facility will be positioned at the corner of D and Second streets. A new, state-of-the-art, NCAA-compliant baseball field will be constructed at Campus West, about half a mile west of the main campus, south of Arrow Highway. There, a new softball field and soccer practice field will also be built.

Adjacent to the new residence hall, a new parking lot with room for 300 to 400 cars will be built, which will provide relief to students who regularly hunt for parking.

Plans also call for recreation features such as grassed areas for Frisbee and other games, half-court basketball facilities, outdoor volleyball courts and barbecue and picnic areas. In addition, a new all-weather track enclosing a new synthetic turf football/soccer field will highlight a renovated football stadium.

“A new residence hall and improved athletic fields will complement our already outstanding faculty, and will help solidify La Verne as a first-choice destination for traditional-age undergraduates,” said Dr. Jonathan Reed, interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

The university’s Master Plan addresses the competitive arena in which higher education now finds itself.

“When students are sophomores in high school, they start to think about where they are going to college and they’re not only looking at the other private schools, like Redlands and Chapman and Whittier, but they’re looking at Cal State and UC schools,” Morgan said. “We want to be a desirable place for them to go to school. We want to raise the attractiveness of our campus so that students make us their first choice. We have strong academic programs, and we’re very proud of them. When you put that into a nice package of quality facilities, then we’ll have the attractiveness that will make this a more desirable destination for college going students.”

The new residence hall helps address a shortage in housing available to La Verne students. Statistics for the current year show that the demand for on-campus housing exceeded supply. Part of that is due to an overall increase in enrollment, but it is also indicative of a general desire of students to live on campus.

Once the new residence hall is opened in Summer 2012, it will allow the university to move 228 students out of Studebaker-Hanawalt and Brandt residence halls.

“This is the first new residence hall and we will need a second and a third,” Morgan said. “I think we’ll find that this will be such a big hit, it’ll be fully occupied, and that within three years, we’ll be starting on the next one, and then three years after that, starting on the next one.

“As we build out these facilities – not only the residence halls, but the athletic facilities as well – we’ll be able to strengthen our reputation. In terms of positioning ourselves for the future, positioning ourselves for success, we can truly be a successful, desirable institution as a traditional undergraduate residential campus. We’re changing our whole image and making a real impact statement.”

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