Graph by Peter Caty

Graph by Peter Caty

Cinder blocks. Cold tile floors. One window. Prison?

Actually, these words describe the average student living conditions at the University, which have left many Fairfield students unsatisfied and annoyed. Many of their residence halls are over 40 years behind the times compared to schools like Sacred Heart and Loyola (MD).

As schools throughout the Northeast build new dorms and renovate current ones, Fairfield has yet to update its facilities or build new student living areas.

The dorms for freshmen and sophomores make up the quad and, along with Kostka, Claver, and Dolan Halls, were all constructed between 1957 and 1970, but only Dolan Hall has been renovated (1990).  The school has more recent housing for its upperclassmen, constructing the most recent townhouses in 1987 and the village apartments in 2000.

But for freshman and sophomores, the options are still limited. Fairfield’s sophomore living does include the option of suite-style, but there is no kitchen and the building with the suites, Kostka Hall, has not been significantly renovated since its initial building in 1970.

Student Discontent

Larry Cornelia ‘12 thinks Kostka could use some improvement.

“It’s nice to live with friends, but it’s tough with the size of the rooms and it’d be nice to be able to make our own food sometimes,” he said.

Many Fairfield underclassmen feel crammed in their rooms and envious of those at nearby Sacred Heart, who provides its sophomores with an upgrade that does not compare to Fairfield’s sophomore housing.

Michael Bennett ’13 lives in Gonzaga Hall and while it provides him somewhere to live, he isn’t satisfied with his situation.

“Compared to other schools I’ve been at, the freshman rooms don’t compare,” he said. “I always have to listen to my friends talk about how big their rooms are. I feel like the freshman rooms are tight here.”

Living Well at SHU

As freshmen at Sacred Heart, there are two dorms with double and triple living arrangements and one dorm that offers suite-style living with a kitchen and living room. Sophomores can live in a suite style dorm with four students or live suite-style with 10-12 students, according to Matt Fitton, a junior at Sacred Heart.

There are also a limited number of apartments available for sophomores. While the suites offer a kitchen and bathroom, the apartments include a dining room.

Fitton was pleased with the housing he experienced during his freshman and sophomore years.

“I thought I had plenty of room in my dorms my freshman and sophomore year,” he said. “The fact that they were brand new helped … the space and conditions of the living area were very good.”

Sacred Heart built their dorms between 1992 and 2004, said Sacred Heart Director of Residential Life Joel Quintong.

Plans to Improve
FUSA President Jeff Seiser ’10 thinks that the housing at Fairfield could use some improvement.

“Yes, we do need to upgrade our facilities but it is in our plans. It is something you have not heard about because of the current economy,” he said.

There are plans to construct new residence halls in the future, according to the Fairfield University’s Associate Director of Residence Life Jason Downer. He said there are plans to build a new traditional style dorm between Campion and Jogues, but it hasn’t been decided whether it will be for freshmen or sophomores.

The University has plans to remodel Dolan Hall and make it into apartments for juniors. The current parking lot next to Kostka and Claver halls is being looked into as a possible location for more apartments, said Downer. Some of these projects, once finalized, could begin as early as the fall of 2010.

Fairfield does have plans for housing upgrades, and the fall of 2010 is a target deadline, but a variety of factors, including the economy, could cause a delay.

Although there is no current construction of new student housing, a new Jesuit Community Center is in the finalizing stages of being built. The cost totals about $10 million, according to Mark Reed, vice president of administrative and student affairs. The center comes as a result of several years of planning and is part of a bigger plan for new student housing.

In building this new center for the Jesuits, Fairfield gained ownership of a piece of property on the corner of campus previously owned by the Jesuit Community. This property includes St. Ignatius Hall, the current housing for Fairfield’s Jesuits. The new Jesuit center is more compatible than St. Ignatius was for the size of the Fairfield Jesuit population. In acquiring St. Ignatius, the university intends to upgrade it and convert it to student housing.

“I don’t understand why Fairfield is building a new Jesuit Residence. I feel bad for the underclassmen and hope that Fairfield upgrades its dorm soon for future students,” said Jake Herman ’11.

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