Here is the preliminary design for a new residence hall at Selby Avenue and Finn Street, east of the baseball field.

The University of St. Thomas will hold a public information meeting on Monday, Dec. 15, to discuss its preliminary plans to construct a new residence hall and an underground parking ramp on two surface parking lots southwest of Selby Avenue and Finn Street.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the Brady Educational Center auditorium on the south campus. Parking will be available in nearby lots.

The new hall is identified in a St. Paul campus master plan prepared by the university. The St. Thomas board of trustees is expected to consider the hall in February; if approved, construction could begin in May and the hall could open in September 2005.

Preliminary plans call for up to 399 beds, with five stories facing Selby and seven stories on the south end. The hall would comply with the university’s Special Condition Use Permit, which allows for a maximum building height of 90 feet and a minimum setback of 50 feet from the Selby property line.

The ramp would have up to 358 spaces, and 69 surface spaces would remain south of the new hall. The ramp spaces would replace the 225 existing surface spaces on the hall site plus provide one space for every three students living in the hall, as required by the city. If the hall is built for 399 students, that would mean 133 such parking spaces, for a total of 358.

St. Thomas wants to construct the hall to provide more on-campus housing for undergraduate students. This fall, about 1,979 students live on campus, and the university believes there is enough interest among commuter and transfer students to fill a new Selby-Finn hall.

The hall would contain mostly four-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom suites, each for four students. The main entrance would face the service drive from Selby, and motorists would access the ramp on the south end.

Construction would be the first step in the university’s long-range effort to increase the on-campus undergraduate student population and to reduce the number of students living in the neighborhood.

The campus master plan identifies several other possible housing sites – new residence halls to replace Ireland, Cretin and Grace halls, and apartment buildings on Summit and Grand avenues as part the Summit redevelopment project.

St. Thomas favors replacing older residence halls, rather than renovating them, because new construction would be less expensive and better meet program needs. Renovation would reduce the number of units in older buildings at a time when the university wants to provide more housing on campus.

The St. Thomas board accepted the campus master plan in October with the understanding that it will be used as a guide in planning future projects and not as approval for any specific project. The administration will return to the board for approval of individual projects.



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