Villanova students living off-campus focus of plan

Monday, February 06, 2012

About a third of Villanova University's students including almost all the seniors live off-campus, many in rental homes and apartments in the nearby residential neighborhoods of Rosemont and Bryn Mawr.

And that can cause problems.

"These houses are small and they're very close together and the parking is tight. When you have five in a house and there's supposed to be two and they have five cars, there's a problem here," Sara Pilling of Rosemont, Pa. said.

Other issues include public drunkenness and noise from parties or as bars let out and the students make their way back home.

"We've always encouraged them to have the students live on campus rather than the community because it's easier, we have less problems," Radnor Township Commissioner Bill Spingler said.

Now, Villanova is poised to launch a $200-million development project that could help the situation.

The plan calls for the construction of four new dorms that would house more than 1,100 students.

The dorms along with a new performing arts center and parking structure would be built along Lancaster Avenue, where the current parking lot stretches for several blocks.

The dorm project is in no way a done deal. In fact, the university won't even present it to Radnor Township until next Monday night. Plus, it will be a while before construction gets under way.

And while neighbors may like the idea, students, especially upperclassmen who look forward to living independently off-campus, might be a tougher sell.

"I think I'd still live off-campus [because of] freedom, mostly," senior Chris Wilson said.

"I kind of liked moving off-campus. I think it's just a change of pace. I liked being on-campus freshman and sophomore year, but it wasn't really for me again," junior Dylan Sullivan said.

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