Work on new VU dorm to begin this fall
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent May 7, 2013 4:04PM
Updated: June 9, 2013 6:11AM
VALPARAISO — Work on a four-story dorm at the intersection of LaPorte Avenue and University Drive should begin this fall and be ready for the 2014-15 school year.
Before that happens, Valparaiso University will begin demolition of two small buildings on LaPorte — the Confucius Center and the health center — in August.
Around mid-June, the city will replace a water main along LaPorte from the roundabout at Sturdy Road to the old hospital parking lot west of Roosevelt Road, where it’ll go north to Lincolnway.
University representatives brought preliminary plans for the new dorm at the southeast corner of the intersection to Tuesday’s Site Review Committee meeting.
Joel R. Sandridge of FGM Architects in Chicago said the 280-bed building will resemble the collegiate Gothic architecture of the rest of the university and fit into the orthogonal grid of the campus, with one side running along LaPorte.
The first floor will be divided between common spaces and residential units. The other floors will be suites of shared bathrooms at about 80 beds per floor.
To avoid noise and an unaesthetic look, “we’ve taken a lot of equipment from the roof top and put it in the basement,” Sandridge said.
Trees along LaPorte will block the building from street view. Trees around the dorm won’t grow tall enough to interfere with tension wires around it.
Mark Geskey of the city’s water department said replacement of the water main should be completed before students arrive for the 2013-14 school year and dorm construction begins.
The 80-year-old line has had about 50 breaks since the 1970s.
City Engineer Tim Burkman requested that when the university replaces the sidewalk along LaPorte it puts in an 8-foot wide variety that matches the city pathways. Valparaiso intends to extend the pathway to downtown from the university to Garfield Street to the west, where it now ends. Burkman asked that the university put a crosswalk across LaPorte at the stop sign, so students can access the Lincolnway pathway to the north.
City Planner Tyler Kent asked for a concrete pad on LaPorte for a V-Line bus stop, which the city could put a shelter on in a partnership with VU.