For upperclassmen: Plans set for Clare Apartments

By Ryne Baumhover

Lumen Reporter

The new Clare Apartments on the corner of Eighth and Market Streets have been under construc­tion since August and the estimated $8.8 million building is slated to open in July 2012.

The five-story building will have two and four bedroom apartments and will house 118 students.

“Everybody will have their own bedroom,” Gretchen Johnson, assis­tant director of Residence Life told Lumen.

“Each apartment will have its own thermostat and the windows will open,” Vickie Unfurth, director of Residence Life, said. “There will be no dishwashers, but there will be regular sized refrigerators and ov­ens big enough to bake cookies in.”

Twin beds and one bathroom for two people is just one of the incen­tives students can expect in the new building. There will also be first floor laundry and a study area on each floor.

“People will scan to get in the building,” Unfurth said. “Once you’re in the building, you’re in. It’s not like Rose Terrace where you have to key in to each floor.”

The new Clare Apartments will also have an underground park­ing lot, which will have 30 parking spots.

“All students will still need a per­mit to park there,” Johnson said. The parking lot will be like other lots on campus where any resident student with a permit will be allowed to park there.

Although residential policies have not yet been decided, who will be living there has.

“We were hearing from upper­class students they wanted to live on campus,” Rick Artman, president of Viterbo, told Lumen. “The goal was to provide an off-campus style apartment on campus.”

“It is certain there will be some priority with class ranks and years on campus,” Artman said. “We want to offer an incentive to those who have lived on campus the longest.”

The new apartment building fits into the campus master plan and the four institutional priorities, Artman said. The four priorities are academ­ic distinction, Catholic and Francis­can identity, affordability, access and success, and enrollment growth.

The campus master plan was ap­proved by the Board of Trustees in 2008 and most recently was extend­ed to 2015 from the original 2013.

“We want enrollment growth to 2000 full-time students,” Artman said. “This year our enrollment is 1555. When the plans started, we were at 1350. We want to maintain about 30 to 40 percent of students living on campus.

“If we were going to meet our en­rollment growth, we had to expand housing,” Artman said.

While freshmen are required to live in the residence halls and with the housing crunch for the residence halls, there is a reason for building a new apartment building as op­posed to a new residence hall, Art­man said.

“Students want their privacy,” Artman said. “Anything built in the future will be more apartments.”

“The Sub-Committee of Residen­tial Capacity had a conversation about what we were going to build and whose needs were going to be met,” Unfurth said. “It was decided to give upperclass students an alter­native to moving off campus.”

If students choose to move off campus, there will be more alterna­tive use for apartment buildings as opposed to a new residence hall, Artman said, such as renting apart­ments to the public or to married students who want the choice to live on campus.

“The need for housing was based on growth,” Artman said. “The loca­tion was based on the master plan.”

This was so that there would be the housing quad and the academic quad, Artman explained. Viterbo is also close to closing on three proper­ties across from the Mathy Center to expand housing even further in the future, Artman said.

The building has a capped price at $8.8 million and Artman said the building is not being paid for with tuition.

“The funding comes from the quasi-endowment,” Artman said. “As of June 30, the end of our fiscal year, the endowment was $36 mil­lion.”

Artman explained that about one-third of the endowment is a “pure” endowment in which only the in­terest from gifts is spent on schol­arships. For example, if someone were to donate $500 to be used for scholarships, the $500 would remain intact while only the interest would be used.

The other two-thirds of the en­dowment is the quasi-endowment. That money can be spent however the Board of Directors sees fit.

“That’s money that’s been saved for special projects,” Artman said. “It’s not your tuition.”

The building has been part of the campus master plan since its ap­proval in 2008. In March of 2010, the name Clare Apartments was chosen in honor of St. Clare of Assisi.

Originally, ground was to be bro­ken on the new building after the 2010-2011 school year ended this past May. However, that was not the case. To save money, the parking lot was initially taken out. The City of La Crosse would not approve a building permit to the university until the parking lot was put back into construction plans. The build­ing was redesigned and changes were to be made so the capped price would remain $8.8 million.

“The projected date to open is end of July so we can start moving students in by end of August,” John­son said.

Anyone who is interested in see­ing the layout of the new building may stop by the Office of Residence Life and ask Dodie Marriot to see the layout.

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