March 28, 2016
The Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors recently approved a $96 million project to demolish and replace Gladding Residence Center I and II at 711 W. Main St. on the Monroe Park Campus. In this first of its kind agreement for VCU, work will proceed through a public-private partnership with Texas-based American Campus Communities.
“This agreement will allow the university to continue providing a high-quality living and learning environment for our students,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “On-campus housing encourages student success and increases retention rates. This new residence hall will help develop the area around Monroe Park and better connect our community and neighbors.”
Under the 50-year operating agreement, the developer will design, build, finance and operate a new 12-story residence hall, which is expected to open by the start of the 2018 academic year. VCU will assume ownership of the building at the end of the agreement.
“This partnership allows us to complete the new residence center more quickly while preserving the university’s debt capacity for important academic construction projects, such as the new School of Allied Health Professions and School of Engineering buildings,” said Dick Bunce, interim vice president for finance and budget.
The new 360,000 square foot residence center will house 1,524 students, an increase of 600 beds which will allow all freshmen to live on the Monroe Park Campus. The center will consist of traditional housing and semi-suites. Living space within the center will be arranged into four “neighborhoods” per floor to encourage student interaction.
“Significant student learning takes place outside of the classroom and as a result of relationships, the planning and design of residential facilities focuses on creating environments that foster connections and learning opportunities,” said Charles Klink, Ph.D., interim vice provost for student affairs. “When residence halls promote community-building, students create stronger, long-term ties with each other and the university.”
The new site will also house Residence Life and Housing’s administrative offices on the ground floor along with a fitness center and building support space.
Demolition on Gladding Residence Center I and II will begin in August. Gladding I was built in 1979 and Gladding 2 was built in in 1982. Gladding Residence Center III and the Branch Bathhouse, which are also located at the site, will remain and be incorporated in the redevelopment project.