The executive director of the WCU Foundation, Rich Przywara said Friday the construction of Alleghany and Brandywine Halls are a few days ahead of schedule and on budget. After a summer of hard work, Przywara said that smoothness of the project has been strange for such a complex development costing approximately $80 million. Przywara also touted the cooperation of West Chester University’s staff.
“This has been the nicest construction project I’ve ever worked on,” Przywara said. “You couldn’t ask for a more collaborative relationship.”
One of the issues that made this project difficult is the “spaghetti” like pipe systems underground the former Residential Quad that connects the buildings. Many of the underground blueprints were not-exact and missing information due to the age of the underground pipe system.
Coupled with the intended use of geothermal energy, the project is not easy.
So far, students and parents have responded positively to the promise of new residence halls that will eventually replace Goshen, Tyson and Ramsey Halls.
After the two residence halls are constructed and receive their certificate of occupancy, the three northern halls, excluding McCarthy Hall, will be demolished and Dormitory “C” and “D” will be constructed there. After that stage of the construction is complete, Wayne, Schmidt and Sanderson will be demolished.
Focus groups met over the summer consisting of parents and students to assess the interest in the upgraded amenities. Parents and students reacted well despite the higher price tag of the new residence halls.
Alleghany and Brandywine halls will consist of a similar suite-style living environment to University Hall. Three room types are available. Double rooms costing about $3600 a semester are going to make up the majority of the two residence halls. There are also four-person suites with a shared living room and two-person suites with a shared living room costing approximately $4000 per semester.
The new residence halls will have similar features to University Hall, but with some improvements like card-accessible rooms, laundry service built into the price of room and board and increased lounge space.
Of the 1,200 rooms, there will be a block of rooms dedicated to first-year students and the rest will be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Przywara advised that students who would be interested in the new residence halls should apply immediately when they start taking applications in October. Przywara noted the speed at which University Hall was filled and inferred that Alleghany and Brandywine Hall would probably be filled by Thanksgiving.
Although “Hollinger Field” is gone until Wayne is demolished, there are plans to be temporary basketball courts between Hollinger Field House and Tyson Hall. Once the first two residence halls are constructed, there will be a new Residential Quad with grassy areas and sidewalks, but there will not be volleyball or basketball courts.
Przywara added that speed and flexibility of having the residence halls privately-owned has helped the project move forward and could allow for the University to start future projects without the financial stress of the largest residence hall construction project in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
“[This has been] the fastest moving construction project this university has seen in some time,” Przywara said. “The University can avoid the debt.”
Przywara also assured that the residence halls would imply the University’s Public Safety and Residence Life offices.
Tyson, Goshen, and Ramsey are scheduled to be demolished at the beginning of Summer 2009 if the project stays on schedule, but Przywara said if there is any doubt the new residence halls will not be ready, they will wait on any demolition.
Frank Stern is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at FS628548@wcupa.edu.