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The Board of Visitors Executive Committee heard a presentation on student housing Monday by a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm.

Two representatives of Brailsford and Dunlavey Associates gave an overview of the findings of their recent Student Housing Study and Market Analysis regarding the construction of new housing facilities and the renovation of existing residence halls.

Robert Fenning, vice president for administration and finance, said the study was needed in order for the university to prepare for projected increases in the number of Virginia high school graduates in the coming years and to assess existing housing to meet the needs of its students.

Based on the firm's findings, Old Dominion will seek to add approximately a total of 1,200 new beds within the University Village by 2008. Also, structural and other improvements which reflect student preferences, as well as work on HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems, will be done in all existing residence halls, starting with Rogers Hall. Currently, Old Dominion houses approximately 2,400 students.

"As new units come online, this will enable us to close existing facilities one semester at a time in order for these improvements to be made," said Terry Durkin, director of housing services.

Both the new construction and renovation will reflect the findings of the consulting firm's study, which indicates that the large majority of students surveyed (80 percent) prefer to live in single bedroom units located within two- or four-bedroom apartments, Durkin noted.

The new student housing would be privately developed, and once the facilities are built, plans call for having these apartments occupied primarily by juniors, seniors and graduate students, with freshmen and sophomores living in current on-campus facilities, according to Durkin.

In other matters, the board learned that the extent of Old Dominion's state-mandated budget cuts will likely be pro-rated, based on a 2000 legislative report on college funding which shows the university is among the state's most poorly funded institutions. Board member Beverly Graeber lauded President Runte for her efforts in getting legislators to consider the university's ranking in this study when determining funding levels.

Also at the meeting, Rector Walter D. Kelley Jr. announced that former Gov. Jim Gilmore's appointment of Judy Worthington to the board has not been approved by the General Assembly.

This article was posted on: March 1, 2002

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