Currently at Fairfield University, students and faculty have witnessed construction taking place near the upperclassmen townhouses. With a wide fenced area, construction workers working in bright green vests, and big yellow excavators stationed around the premises, members of the University are wondering what this construction is for.
According to Charles Sousa, senior associate director of housing operations at Fairfield University, construction of two new blocks of townhouses is what is being witnessed. These two additional blocks will make room for an additional 84 beds to the existing bed count.
These new construction projects are not a part of the “Fairfield Rising Campaign,” which raised $217,762,996 throughout the years 2012-2018. This money, which was generated through many generous donors and alumni contributions, helped fund the construction of the new Convocation Center, Barnyard Manor, Charles F. Dolan School of Business, 42 Langguth Hall, Leslie C. Quick, Jr. Recreation Complex, Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, The Daniel and Grace Tully Dining Commons and the Aloysius P. Kelley Center.
With all donations under this campaign ending in 2018, questions are raised as to how these two projects are being funded.
David Frassinelli, vice president for facilities at Fairfield University, was asked by The Mirror to give further detail on the present construction happening on campus, as well, however he did not respond in time for publication.
For the past consecutive twelve years, Fairfield’s undergraduate applications have steadily increased, and the incoming class proves no different. As of January 2020, 13,000 applications for admittance into the Class of 2026 were processed, jumping 5.25% from the previous year.
According to Sousa, each year Fairfield establishes a housing projection model with the aim of assisting in short and long term planning.
“Based on these projections, we are able to see trends, as well as identify future housing short falls,” says Sousa. “When we determine that we will have a sustained housing shortfall, we begin the planning process for new buildings.”
Many students have been concerned about lack of housing as Fairfield’s student population has grown. There has been much discussion surrounding new converted triples especially, which were established for the Class of 2025 due to a lack of available rooms. Ten percent of the first-year class were placed in forced triples.
To address this concern, Residence Life is further discussing construction of a new dormitory building in the first-year quad, according to Sousa. Although still in the planning phases, it is anticipated that such construction will occur.
Sousa believes this will help fix current housing issues pertaining to lack of available space. “It helps provide us with more flexibility to help with giving students a positive housing experience,” he says.
Sousa was asked by The Mirror to share if any plan has been discussed revolving around the location of the new first-year dormitory in the quad, however he did not provide an answer to this question. He was also asked to share how many additional beds are expected to be within the prospective first-year dormitory and if there would still be a need for converted triples, but did not address those questions either.
Residential Assistant Pedro Garcia ‘24 believes there may be further plans to improve first year housing by Residence Life, as well.
“On the topic of future building plans, it seems the plan is to renovate the remaining quad buildings, starting with Gonzaga this summer and following with Regis,” says Garcia.
“Renovations would likely include optimized space, updated bathrooms and hydration stations,” says Garcia, “but that’s just my speculation based on previous renovations.”
He believes that he heard through interactions with other RA’s that after such renovations, then the prospective first-year dormitory will be built.
According to Sousa, currently there are no other foreseeable plans to build additional housing, outside of these two projects. Residence Life hopes that through these two projects, students can continue to gain a positive housing experience at Fairfield.