The Purdue Board of Trustees approved plans on Feb. 9 to research the best locations to construct two new dorms on campus to help deal with the over-enrollment of students in the past few years.
Finding the perfect place for two new dormitories is no easy feat, even though campus is more spread out than some other compact universities. Purdue has so many students that facilities take up lots of space, leaving only a few open areas for parking, malls and green space.
The final decision will surely take place after much deliberation, but until the final choice is announced, I’ve created a weighted decision matrix to gauge a few possible locations for the new dorms. Weights have been assigned by relative importance, with parking and floor area being weighted equally, while proximity to campus is more heavily weighted due to its importance to students.
One possibility can be found south of Meredith Hall, between the current Meredith Hall and First Street.
Meredith South could be beneficial as it would provide another dorm fairly close to the academic campus, and would lie essentially in the center of campus. The dorm would be close to other residences, dining courts, libraries and all other facilities necessary to have a healthy academic and social life at college.
The site of Meredith South is currently a parking lot that accommodates about 100 vehicles. If this lot were to be destroyed in favor of the creation of a new dorm, parking on campus would become even more limited, and traveling around campus would be significantly more difficult.
Another choice for the University is the small parking lot and grassy area south of Windsor’s Duhme Hall, across from State Street.
Duhme South is extremely close to both the academic campus and the more social side of West Lafayette, being just under a mile away from Chauncey. Further, Duhme South would be close to the south side of campus and could be advantageous for students who spend most of their time south of State Street.
Again, using Duhme South for dormitory space would require the removal of a parking lot that can currently fit slightly fewer than 100 cars. Duhme South is also smaller than other locations, so it may house less students than would be optimal.
This spot can be found north of the Black Cultural Center and east of Wiley Dining Court.
Wiley East would be one of the closest locations to the academic campus, providing a dorm that’s near everything the average student could want. Bordering a dining court, several streets of Greek houses and extremely close to the Engineering Mall, Wiley East could give students the chance to experience college life smack-dab in the middle of campus.
The area north of the BCC provides parking spaces for nearly 100 cars, meaning the construction of Wiley East would prohibit people from parking near the academic campus. Wiley East would then have to be created with a path through the center to preserve the current road that runs from Wiley to Russell Street, something that isn’t necessarily bad, but is another thing to consider.
Airport Road East
This spot is the farthest from academic campus, and can be found at what is currently Squirrel Park, east of Airport Road and south of State Street.
Building a dorm so far away from academic campus allows for larger floor area, and Airport Road East is certainly far from University Street. This location would not require any parking lots to be destroyed, as it is currently occupied only by a small playground for Purdue Village and could be expanded if necessary.
While Airport Road East would offer a large floor plan, its ability to do so stems from its sheer distance from campus. This location is the farthest from campus, and would be inconvenient for students to travel to and from academic campus. The construction of Airport Road East would also detract area from Purdue Village, as the space currently provides a play-place for the children of Purdue Village inhabitants.
According to the criteria, weights and benchmarks of each possible location, Meredith South emerges victorious as the optimal place for a new dorm, with Duhme East and Wiley East tied for second, both providing equally acceptable locations for the second dorm. Of course, these calculations don’t take relative cost, building height or style into account. However, based off of the bare necessities such as size, parking and proximity to campus, this matrix shows a rough idea of how the University may decide to continue in its search for the perfect spot to build the two new, sorely needed dormitories.