by Kristie Cattafi
Montclair State University will start construction on two new student-housing units by the Recreation Center this spring.
The new dorms are planned to be built in lot 24 A, a parking lot below the Rec. Center and lot 22, a parking lot north of the Rec. Center.
The new dorms will hold 2,000 beds for freshman and sophomore students while taking away 700 parking spaces, Vice President for University Facilities Greg Bressler stated.
This will be the first new construction project under the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009, signed by former Gov. Jon Corzine this past August. The bill allowed public universities to hire private contractors to build on campus.
“It gave us the authority to enter into a public-private contract on our campus,” Bressler said. “Before that we were working with private developers off campus.”
MSU was recently planning off-campus housing in downtown Montclair, but since the stimulus bill was signed, plans were canceled.
Capstone Development Cooperation, which was going to build the off-campus dorms, is now building the new on-campus dorms.
The two buildings, known as the Hillside Site and the Rec. Center Site, will be an “H shaped” building, with laundry rooms, common space and a new dining facility.
“There’s going to be group development that can actually happen right in the building,” Bressler said. “It’s common space, but can also function as a classroom.”
The new dorms will be right next to the new parking garage that should be finished this August. The new deck was built over two surface lots taking away 400 parking spaces, but it should create 1,530 new spaces.
The two new dorms will also be joining our latest addition, Frank Sinatra Hall, which is located in between the Clove Road Apartments and the Village Apartments.
The university will, technically, be leasing the land to Capstone, and students will have to pay rent directly to them.
“They have to operate it within our current room rates,” Bressler said.
According to Bressler, Capstone has to put the price together as a total package.
This includes factoring the cost of designing, building and operating the dorm to pay off the debt of construction and calculate the lease rate of the property all in the current room rate structure.
“It’s kind of a balancing act on the developers part,” Bressler said. “They have to develop it and put it together in a fashion that a person living here would be paying the same rate as someone living in the village.”
Construction is anticipated to be complete by August 2011, and students will be able to move.