York Hill Campus Expansion Highlighted

Photo courtesy of Construction.com
June 1, 2009

Qunnipiac University’s York Hill campus in Hamden. Conn., is in the midst of a $300-million, multiyear project that will add 1,500 beds in new undergraduate residence halls by 2011.

Construction, which began in January 2008, will include 507,000 sq ft of residential space, tagged at $140 million; a $50-million, 100,000-sq-ft, four-story, wood-framed student center; and a $42-million, 2,000-car parking garage.  

The 240-acre York Hill campus is less than a mile from the 220-acre main campus, known as the Mount Carmel campus.

One of the chief goals of the project was to honor a commitment made to the town of Hamden that the school would eventually build enough dorm rooms to house all 5,500 undergraduates on campus. Until now, seniors have had to scramble for off-campus housing, which has created its own set of town-and-gown issues.

When completed, “we’ll be in a position to offer housing for all four years of the undergraduate experience,” says Joseph Rubertone, Quinnipiac associate vice president for facilities administration, who is spearheading the development.

Designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners of Essex, Conn., the university’s prime architect since 1978, the York Hill expansion will include seven new residential buildings, one of which is nine stories above grade called the Crescent Residence Hall. It will rise alongside five smaller 2.5-story buildings, called “village units,” each of which will accommodate 24 beds.

“Only a small part of the building is nine stories, and that can only be seen from the rear side” because the building is tucked into the grade,” Robertone says. “This is not a standard high-rise building” because one side of the building will be four stories above grade, he adds.  

Officials says that 520 beds in the 1,170-bed Crescent building will be available for occupancy in September. A seventh, 204-bed building is scheduled to begin construction in 2010, with completion set for 2011.

Construction of the dorms broke ground in September 2008, although $60 million in site development began in 2007.

The student center, which includes a dining facility, activities rooms, health center, security office and fitness center, is targeted for completion in January.

The Crescent building will also be green, with 1,232 photovoltaic solar panels on the 475,000-sq-ft building’s roof generating 250,000 kilowatt hours per year.

A wind garden with 46 vertical-axis wind turbines, each about 40 ft high, will generate another 84,000 kilowatt hours per year, and more electricity will be generated by a gas-fired micro-turbine with the waste steam harnessed and reused to heat the buildings.

Low-flow plumbing fixtures and native landscaping are being designed to cut back on water demand. There also will be an onsite recycling center.

Torrington, Conn.-based O& G Industries is project general contractor. BVH Integrated Services of Bloomfield, Conn., is handling the mechanical and electrical engineering, and Nathan Jacobson of Chester, Conn., is in charge of civil engineering.

The dorms will feature wall-bearing masonry construction with concrete plank. They will include three-bedroom suites, each with two private baths, a kitchen and living area.Generous study rooms and lounges will be installed throughout each building.

Site development involved the excavation, reshaping and movement of about 400,000 cu yds of mostly rocky material on the site, Rubertone said.

Two years ago, as part of its overall master plan, Quinnipiac purchased an additional 104-acre campus in nearby North Haven from health insurer Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which will be used as to accommodate the school’s growing number of graduate students at its Graduate Education Center.

Quinnipiac is leasing a majority of the Anthem campus back to the insurer, which will gradually vacate the property over the next 10 years.

Read the original story on New York Construction online.