CWRU plans $72+ million dorm expansion, more coming

Development of new residential halls could start next year on
Case Western Reserve University-owned parking lots at the
intersection of Murray Hill and Adelbert roads. Renovation
of Fribley Hall is due to start this year. The addition of 600
beds will help the university cope with a growing enroll-
ment (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

In most years, Case Western Reserve University’s (CWRU) freshman classes get bigger. And each year, CWRU looks for ways to accommodate the growth of its enrollment that has surpassed 12,000, compared to 9,600 students in 2000. Their expansion options have involved building new dormitories as well as making it easier for more upperclassmen to live off campus.

But it’s been five years since CWRU built a new dorm. That’s due to change soon in the South Residential Village where Murray Hill and Adelbert roads intersect. There, two new dorms totaling 600 beds are due to see construction start next year and be completed in 2023, according to administrators and architects who made an on-campus presentation to students this week.

The construction will follow completion of renovations to the neighboring Fribley Hall and surrounding commons which are scheduled to start this year, said Christopher Panichi, director of planning, design and construction at CWRU, at Tuesday’s presentation.

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In June 2018, CWRU hired the Albert M. Higley Co. as its general contractor for the renovations to 1964-built Fribley Hall and commons, according to a notice of commencement filed by CWRU on Oct. 31, 2019. Higley’s project commission expires Sept. 1, 2021, the notice shows. Fribley Hall was last?renovated in 2000?but that was limited to the cafeteria.

The north side of Fribley Hall will be opened up with more
glass, facing a renovated commons and where the planned
South Village residence halls will rise. Murray Hill Road is
at right, seen from the Adelbert Road intersection (CWRU).

Then, on CWRU parking lot No. 5 next door to Fribley Hall, the university plans to construct two residence halls costing $72.46 million. They represent phases one and two of the South Residential Village expansion and total up to 185,000 square feet of new facilities, according to CWRU planning documents. These two new buildings will be for second-year students.

Plans for the new residence halls show one-bed rooms would measure 105 square feet and two bed rooms would measure 170 to 171 square feet. Furnishings are proposed to include one or two bed/dressers, wardrobes and desks per room. Students provided input on the layout, decorations and furnishings at Tuesday’s meeting.

Between Fribley Hall and the new residence halls will be a new outdoor dining area and expanded Fribley Commons. A loading area for Fribley Hall will be demolished to make way for the expanded commons and to open up the north side of the hall with more glass.

A third phase proposed across the street could follow the construction of the first and second phases. Conceptual plans for the third phase show two connected residential buildings on CWRU parking lot No. 44 between Fribley Hall and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s Cedar-University Red Line rail station that was renovated in 2014. There is no estimated cost yet for the third phase.

This photo taken of a display board at the student input
meeting this week shows the site of a renovated Fribley
Hall, phases one and two of the proposed new residence
halls at right, and the third-phase residence halls at the
top of the image (CWRU/contributed photo).

The timeline for phase three could be accelerated based on enrollment growth, said Panichi and CWRU Director of University Housing John White. The university’s long-range plans suggest that construction of new buildings for the South Residential Village could allow CWRU to demolish dorms at the top of the hill in Cleveland Heights.

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The land at the top of the hill could then be used for recreation or sold for redevelopment, according to the long-range plan. But given the university’s growing enrollment, that plan may be delayed.

The architect for the new South Residential Village dorms is William Rawn Associates of Boston. The firm’s portfolio has one local project — Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Center, 10201 Carnegie Ave. No other housing expansions are planned by CWRU even though additional off-campus leasing of apartments is difficult to secure absent new inventory.

Construction of additional off-campus housing could happen soon with the start of Midwest Development Partners’ four-block-large Circle Square development. Although technically the project began with the recent renovation of Fenway Hall at Euclid Avenue and East 105th Street.

Midwest Development Partners’ proposed Library Lofts
apartment building at 10553 Euclid Ave. is due to start
construction later this year. It will include a two-story
MLK Branch Library at the building’s base (Bialosky).

The first new-build phase of Circle Square is Library Lofts, a planned seven- to 10-story apartment building at 10553 Euclid Ave. above Cleveland Public Library’s planned two-story $10 million MLK Branch. That project could see a groundbreaking toward the end of this year.

Under an affiliate Library Lofts LLC, Midwest Development Partners purchased two parcels Jan. 2 from University Circle Inc. for $325,000, according to county records.

The MLK branch library would relocate from a neighboring parcel to avail that site for a future phase of the Center Square development. The old Third District Police Station on Chester Avenue was recently demolished for another, as yet unannounced phase of Circle Square.

Minutes from a recent meeting of the Cleveland Public Library’s board of trustees noted that the library has received a letter of credit from Midwest Development Partners. It states that the developer is able to fund the entire Library Lofts project. Most of the funding for the apartments portion is from equity partners, according to the minutes.

Construction is nearly complete on 1609 Hazel Apartments
that will add 110 apartments to the University Circle area for
all interested renters, including CWRU students (CIM).

The last dorm that CWRU constructed was the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Residence Hall, located in the campus’ North Residential Village at 1576 E. 115th St., just south of Wade Park Avenue. The upperclassmen hall houses 290 students in 106 apartments.

That doesn’t include residential buildings constructed by two other University Circle-area institutions — the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) and Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). CIA opened the 191-bed?Euclid 117 Residence Hall in 2018 exclusively for CIA students.

And, CIM and NewBrook Partners are nearly finished building 1609 Hazel Apartments, which are due to open this year. Although instigated by CIM, anyone can rent one of the 110 apartments there, including CWRU students.

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