By SUSAN JONES
Pitt’s announcement that student housing assignments for the fall have been distributed included a surprising tidbit — more than 100 first-year students will be housed in the two residence halls at nearby Carlow University.
Lisa D. Fischetti, vice president of marketing, communications & government relations at Carlow University, said the school recently acquired McAuley Hall from the Sisters of Mercy, which will offer additional bedspace for the fall to house Carlow students on campus. “We were projecting surplus bed space and the University of Pittsburgh again found themselves needing additional bedspace.”
She said enrollment at Carlow has been up, and they are projecting a slight increase again for this fall.
“That said, the pandemic resulted in many students choosing to live at home, finish online, or seek less dense residential space,” Fischetti said. “Our first-year student numbers, and demand for housing, are approximating pre-COVID numbers.”
Two floors in both Frances Warde and Dougherty Halls, with double and triple rooms, will be completely occupied by Pitt students. The buildings, which are connected, are just beyond Montefiore Hospital on Fifth Avenue — less than a mile from the Cathedral of Learning.
Resident advisors will be onsite for Pitt students and there will be student life activities, onsite dining, laundry facilities and 24/7 security at building entrances.
A spokeswoman for Pitt said approximately 130 first-year Pitt students will be housed at Carlow “to support Pitt’s record enrollment levels and associated high housing demand. … Hotels were utilized in the past, but these were unavailable for the academic year.”
In March, a Carlow student, Emilee Matz, started a change.org petition opposing the deal with Pitt. In part the petition said: “With Pitt students coming onto our small private campus, the Carlow community will be affected in numerous ways. This is not only a threat to our education, but also to the historical value of our sacred campus, which students uphold because of the community culture on campus.”
In a followup to the petition, Matz said she and another student had met with Carlow administration and been told that 178 of the school’s 441 dorm beds would be open this fall. “Through the proposed partnership Carlow would regain that lost revenue so that it could be funneled into projects such as dormitory and laboratory improvements that students so often wish for,” Matz wrote.
Carlow’s fact sheet says its total headcount was 1,985 in fall 2021. This includes full- and part-time students, both traditional and adult. There were 754 traditional, full-time undergraduates.
This will be the third year in a row that Pitt has leased space in Oakland to house first-year students. For the 2020-21 school year, housing was expanded to three hotels in Oakland to help de-densify student housing during the height of the pandemic. The cost for leasing the two Residence Inns and the Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center was estimated at $22 million.
For the 2021-22 term, Pitt continued to lease one of those hotels — the Residence Inn University Medical Center on Bigelow Boulevard — because of a surge in first-year enrollment.
Nearly 5,000 new students entered Pitt in fall 2021, well over the 4,315 goal.
Marc Harding, vice provost for enrollment, said this week that the 2022-23 first-year class is expected to be down roughly 10 percent from last year and be at or near the goal of 4,465. This is still significantly higher than the 4,040 first-year students who enrolled in fall 2019.
Pitt also continues to lease 87 apartment units with a total capacity of 230 students in the Bridge on Forbes. Since 2019, the Bridge has been used to house many of Pitt’s student-athletes.
The University also decided in November 2021 to buy the Bigelow Boulevard Residence Inn, for $32 million.
At that time, David DeJong, senior vice chancellor for business and operations, said, “The University has identified a need for near-term expansion in student housing capacity, particularly in apartment-style units situated near campus, and the proposed acquisition aligns with the University’s real estate strategy.”
Pitt is adapting the property into furnished apartment-style residences geared toward graduate students. The property originally had 89 efficiency apartments, 73 one-bedroom and nine two-bedroom units. The Pitt spokeswoman said renovations began on the property this summer and approximately 90 units have been reserved for the fall. Work will continue on the rest of the building.
A suite-style undergraduate student residence hall on the hillside development above O’Hara Street was included in the Campus Master Plan but no construction timeline has been established.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at email@example.com or 724-244-4042.
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