sealPurdue News

December 14, 2002

Committee reviews 20-year master plan for campus housing

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University Board of Trustees' Physical Facilities Committee today (Saturday, 12/14) reviewed a 20-year master plan that will upgrade student housing units and provide more lifestyle options in response to changing market conditions, student preferences and the growth of the academic campus.

"The Housing Facilities Master Plan's major objectives will guarantee housing for beginning students, provide high-value apartment-style housing and offer a range of rate structures and accommodations," said John A. Sautter, vice president of housing and food services. "And we'll generate $6 million in funds annually for routine renovations and repairs."

The approximately $200-million master plan, some of which is already under way, includes renovations, improvements and new construction. The projects will be funded through rate increases, savings from staff reductions through attrition and annual reallocations, cost efficiencies in the new food services operations and new income sources, such as meal contracts for off-campus students, said Kenneth P. Burns, executive vice president and treasurer.

The plan calls for reducing housing capacity by the year 2014 by approximately 15 percent – from 12,651 to 10,709 spaces or beds available to students. The effort started in 2000 when the Cary Quadrangle residence hall renovation project began.

"There are several market dynamics at work," Sautter said. "Our students are not required to live on campus. Meanwhile students have greater expectations for certain amenities. And a significant number of new apartment buildings have vacancies in the community surrounding the campus.

"Currently there is an oversupply of off-campus student housing and additional off-campus student housing is expected to open by fall 2003. This plan will adjust housing spaces to the local housing market."

Sautter said critical elements of the plan include $50 million for a two-phase, 1,000-unit apartment complex, a $30 million renovation of Purdue Village South and a $17.1 million renovation of Windsor Hall.

Under the plan, renovating 644 spaces in Purdue Village South would begin in summer 2004 and be completed in fall 2010. The first phase of constructing the new apartments to replace two-thirds of the Hilltop Apartment complex would begin in spring 2004 and be completed by fall 2005. Windsor Hall's renovation of 748 spaces would begin in summer 2006 and be completed by fall 2011

Other elements of the master plan include:

• converting Meredith and Earhart halls to co-ed facilities next year.

• closing two-thirds of the Hilltop Apartment complex and converting the other one-third to family housing.

• closing Purdue Village North to make way for the Discovery Park research complex.

• converting Young Hall to office space.

• the eventual closing of Meredith Hall.

Sautter said the plan to downsize the university's housing capacity comes partly in response to the academic campus expansion projects and the community's oversupply of available housing.

Sautter said residence hall living remains a popular choice among new students and upperclass undergraduates, and Purdue's plan intends to strengthen that bond.

"We've found students like having the university as a landlord," he said.

Marvis J. Boscher, executive director of University Residences, said campus housing is a proven part of a student's enrollment decision-making process, retention and success.

"We know a student's living environment while at college can have a significant impact on his or her overall satisfaction with college," she said. "Purdue Enrollment Services surveys show that living in a residence hall was a beneficial option due to convenience in getting to class, accessibility to the libraries and close proximity to the recreational sports center. Data shows most students feel it is important to live on campus for the student life experience and the sense of connection with the other parts of campus life."

Boscher cited evaluations completed by prospective students that listed touring a residence hall as the second highest rated reason for a visiting a campus, surpassed only by visiting a school or academic program. Students tend to choose housing based on proximity to campus, convenience, amenities, relationship with the university, dining options, a student-oriented community, privacy and value, she said.

"Students look for not only amenities but also a range of rates and accommodations – from the traditional dormitory setting to suites to actual apartment-style living – within the student-oriented university setting," she said.

Improvement plans already under way are addressing residence hall comfort and safety issues.

Currently, the majority of residences are not air-conditioned. By 2012, 72 percent of all spaces will be air-conditioned. An estimated $14.3 million project to provide residence halls with air conditioning is currently under way. The project is being funded through rate increases for those spaces with air conditioning.

The university is in the third year of a 10-year project to upgrade fire-safety measures with sprinkler systems. In addition to sprinkler systems installed in the major renovation projects, other facilities also will be upgraded at an estimated cost of $10 million, Burns said.

"As a result, all housing facilities will be fully equipped with sprinkler systems by 2010," he said.

Other current projects also are part of the 20-year master plan.

Cary Quadrangle is in the third year of a six-year, $51 million renovation project. The west hall is due to be completed by fall 2003 as the northwest hall enters renovation. The project is being funded in part by a 1.5 percent surcharge to residents each year for five years, from fiscal years 2001 to 2005.

A $48 million food-service plan, funded solely through savings and cost-efficiency measures, is in the first of six phases. The renovated Earhart Hall Dining Court begins serving in March 2003. Construction of a food-service dining court on Stadium Avenue, between Cary Quadrangle and Owen Hall, will begin in spring.

University Residences is a self-supporting system and does not receive state funds or money from general student revenues. Purdue currently has three women's halls, three men's halls, six co-ed halls with male and female students in separate living areas, a single-student apartment complex and a family-housing facility. Purdue has the largest residence hall system in the country that does not require student residency in university housing.

Writer: Grant Flora, (765) 494-2073;

Sources: Kenneth P. Burns, (765) 494-9705,

John A. Sautter, (765) 494-1000,

Marvis J Boscher, (765) 494-1000,

Wayne Kjonaas, vice president for physical facilities, (765) 494-8000,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web site:
University Residences

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