Rowan University’s new housing plan will accommodate about 1,400 residents, ranging from sophomores to seniors.
Currently, there are 4,319 students living on campus, and officials expect the population to grow by another thousand within the next few years.
“There needs to be a distribution of housing, housing that is more affordable and housing that goes all the way to the top,” Vice President of University Relations Joe Cardona stated. Sixty percent of full-time students will be residential, and Rowan will use lottery to distribute housing, as done with other on-campus housing.
Rowan leases Robo and other buildings on campus, but the new apartments will be “the first on-campus privately owned building,” according to Cardona. Through a public-private partnership, the university will avoid accumulating outstanding debt.
Rowan has no choice but to triple many residents in dorms and even in on-campus apartments in order to accommodate everyone. Freshman especially deal with poor living arrangements; and though the Village Housing Project does not apply to them directly, it will help to move some of the upperclassmen out and provide more room in dorms and other on-campus apartments.
Wayne Sellers of Rowan University spoke about his personal experiences as a previous freshman in a tripled dorm. “It was tough living in a close quartered room with two people I didn’t know. I like to keep things organized, and they weren’t really on the same page as me when it came to organization,” he explained. Sellers dealt with a non-air-conditioned room and two other roommates in Willow his first semester of college. “We had our differences but I de-tripled at the beginning of the second semester and had only one roommate.”
On the other hand, most upperclassmen end up on a waiting list during the lottery since underclassmen are guaranteed on-campus housing. The list has only been growing, and many students had to find off-campus housing at last minute; some even had to commute for a year.
The new apartments will consume the area between Chesnut and Rowan Boulevard, causing a shift to the east side of campus. This will possibly better the “town-gown,” (the relationship between Glassboro and Rowan) due to the development into the downtown area.
Previously, everything on campus was a short two minutes from each other. VHP will advance the campus and add a livelier atmosphere for students, providing new stores and food places underneath, much like the Whitney Center and Rowan Boulevard in general with their hotspots.
“I think it’s going make Rowan more popular,” Lauren Wechsler, sophomore at Rowan University, said. “It’s going to make our area more exciting.” She explained that the apartments would convince her to move back onto campus for her senior year, so long as the prices are affordable, because of their promising attractions. She thinks the idea of expanding the campus will appeal to many people and persuade high school students to apply.
Kelsey Gustafson, sophomore at Rowan, said: “The concept is overall great, they want to make Glassboro into a mini metropolitan college town, and it’s going to bring in more clientele, which is more money. I just think that if they’re going to be doing that, then they should build a parking garage for the commuters and faculty in the commuters’ lot.” She also suggested that traffic will be more hectic for those who commute.
Students with their cars on campus will park in Robo’s and Whitney’s garage rather than a new one. Gustafsson disagrees with the idea. “I think (the new apartments) should have their own parking because as it is, the parking garage is pretty full and people will be having to park their cars on the roof during the winters…”
Cardona, on the other hand, assured that there will be plenty of room.
The apartments will also include a gym, larger than that of Robo’s, and most likely a cafeteria. Cardona explained that “Gourmet Dining has an exclusive contract with the university” and the company will “sub out” its employees.
Both the Rec Center and the Student Center tend to be crowded at most times of the day, and the new facilities will potentially solve those issues and allow students to travel less.
Before workers were able to finish building Whitney, students had to live in hotels due to the stretch of the deadline. According to Cardona, by April “there will be a resolution by the board of trustees;” and within a year, Rowan will know if their target date is attainable, avoiding any similar implications with the Village Housing Project.