Most other Virginia universities have their students living in off-campus apartments and housing after their freshman year. At Christopher Newport University, President Paul Trible has created a unique experience where most students live on campus their first three years and have the option to live off campus their fourth year.
When you have a student population of over 5,000 people and require 3/4ths to live on campus, you begin to have a housing heavy campus layout. Since CNU housing is cost efficient (ranked fifth in the country by Niche), more and more seniors are also choosing to stay on campus for their final year. This further increases the demand.
To meet the growing call for upperclassman housing, CNU is beginning the process of constructing a new residence hall on the corner of Warwick and Hiden Boulevard. This building will be called home by more than 200 seniors when it is finished.
According to the administration and their dealings with the city of Newport News, the new constructions will be built where the “CNU SunTrust building” now stands as well as the Hiden Boulevard Post Office. This move will not only ease the housing process but will increase parking, an issue at CNU like it is on every college campus.
A graphic of what the structure is expected to look like, via Glavé & Holmes Architecture, tells us that the residence hall will be of similar fashion and style to the Rappahannock River Residence Hall. If you are an incoming freshman this year, you can expect cranes, bulldozers, and cement trucks to start rolling through by February of 2018. These sights are something CNU students have gotten used to with the near constant improvements the school is undergoing.
The new “Shenandoah Hall” and extra parking will cost the school $47.3 million by the school’s estimates. This is more than the $42.6 million spent by the school to build Rappahannock River Hall it is modeled after. In all, construction is expected to last 18 months, just in time for the class of 2020 to move in for their senior year.
John McAndrew graduated from CNU this last spring and lived off campus his senior year. The 2017 graduate had this to say about his experience renting a house: “Living off campus is a cheaper and more realistic experience than a dorm could ever be. You pay rent and utilities while being responsible for fixing and repairing your home. Overall, living off campus taught me a lot about what life outside of college would be like.”
Some students wish not to deal with the stress of paying rent, minding their utilities, or even mowing their lawn. It is reasonable to not want these issues interfering with your final two semesters at CNU as you search for a job or internship and finish up your studies. Living on campus saves you time going to class, going to get food, going to the library, and going to all the extra-curricular activities that CNU students involve themselves in. Having talked to President Trible, he believes that having more students on campus leads to a more vibrant feel around campus as students are buzzing from here to there or simply sitting and enjoying the sunny weather Newport News has to offer. Typically, colleges find that students who live on campus are more likely do excel in their studies as well. This is information that the school takes into account when preparing to spend millions of dollars in improving the on-campus living experience.