December 4, 2020

Master Plan proposes new student housing

By Brittany Ruess and Victoria Dickson

The Webster University master plan calls for the possible demolition of the Webster Village apartments to rebuild housing based on a survey with student feedback. Scion conducted the survey, which circulated in the fall 2011 semester, for the master plan. Steve Strang, senior project manager, said the results showed a need for about 1,400 units that are either single or double living spaces.

The results also showed students preferred the semi-suite and apartment style living spaces best. Students favored the suite option the least. The semi-suite is similar to West Hall and Maria Hall dorms. Two bedrooms share one bathroom that is  —located in the middle of the two rooms.

“With the housing, what you want to do is mix the different types of units,” Strang said. “The problem we have right now is we may have an abundance that is not in demand. We may not have what the students want.”

Strang said he doesn’t know what mix of suite, semi-suite and apartment-style living spaces the university plans to use. Strang also said the proposed new apartments may connect similarly to the way West Hall connects to north and south sides of the building.

An objective of the master plan is to increase undergraduate enrollment to approximately 5,000 students. Loren Douglass, senior and student representative for the master plan Steering Committee, said better housing could attract more students and help the university reach the 5,000 marker.

“(The master plan) could offer more housing and more variety of housing. (It may include) housing districts so students will move around campus as they get older,” Douglass said. “It would make the on-campus community more prominent and housing will be a big aspect of that.”

Diana Thomas, junior public relations major, thinks the master plan and the possible new apartments would be beneficial to students. Thomas had concerns about what Webster plans to do while the apartments are being built, especially with so many students living in them.

Thomas has lived in the apartments for two years and said there are advantages in living in them, such as free laundry and the pool service. She also liked the fact that she gets to stay on campus, but does notdoesn’t have to live in a dorm. However, she would like more living space.

For Thomas, progression is very important to make Webster better.

“Things have to naturally progress and naturally get better,” Thomas said. “It’s going to be interesting and hopefully they do a great job. It’s good to have more people on campus and more people to experience the on-campus life.”

John Buck, associate dean and director of housing and residential life, said there is no definite plan to build new apartments. The final decisions will be revealed when the master plan is finalized.

“What the master plan process does is it helps you look at what the university needs for the next 15-20 years,” Buck said. “It causes you to be really thoughtful about where people will live and where they will study, and where they’re going to park…It’s just been very exciting for me to kind of watch it all happen,” Buck said. “I’m really intrigued to see what the final project will be.”

 

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