Caito-Wagner Hall

Luke Thomas, News Editor

Marian University is eying new ways to accommodate students in its coming years, specifically in its housing and residence life department.

Construction on a new residence hall will begin in May of next year as outlined in a recent news release. The dorm hall will contain 112 rooms, housing 210 students. Caito-Wagner Hall, named after Phil and Brigitt Caito, will open in time for Fall semester in 2021. This effort has been a long time coming due to the current overpopulation on campus. In some cases, students are having to double up in their rooms. Freshmen students, normally confined to Doyle Hall, are now spilling over into Clare Hall, which is meant to be an upperclassman dorm. A new dorm hall is an addition that is much needed at Marian University.

The new residence hall is widely welcomed among the student population. Nevertheless, there are growing concerns throughout the student body that the current campus parking situation will be negatively impacted. With parking as tight as it is, will paving over an existing parking lot to erect a new dorm hall be more detrimental than beneficial? Kate Doty, Director of Housing and Residence Life, said,

“It is going over a commuter lot, but with having paved the lot across 30th street and with parking being fairly fine right now, it’s a little tight and you can’t park right next to your building but there is still space on campus. We feel confident that it’s not going to have a huge impact on the student experience, the commuter experience, and we are closely monitoring it.”

Kate also said that while there are currently no plans to further accommodate for parking, if the need so arises post-construction of Caito-Wagner Hall, proper action will be taken. The new parking lot across 30th street helped alleviate many problems that Marian currently faces regarding parking, but many students are worried about its overall safety. The lot is located adjacent to a gas station that is known to be dangerous after dark and there is an unmonitored crosswalk crossing 30th street, which is busy at nearly all hours. Is this a true solution to the problems facing the student body?

Seth Knoll, a Resident Assistant in Clare Hall, said that he believes the 30th street parking lot could be a very valuable asset if it is adequately monitored. It has proper lighting and is of close vicinity to campus, but he said it feels unsafe in its current state. If safety was prioritized, he would be completely on board with any and all housing efforts.

One way that college campuses combat parking lot safety concerns is by having regular police patrols in the late-night hours, on top of installing CCTV systems. This is a system that could be promising on Marian’s campus given the already strong police presence. Surveillance systems and police monitoring could prove to be widely beneficial. Safety seems to be the number one concern with the new parking spaces and if students are expected to fill those spaces in lieu of a new residence hall, new investments into security and safety could be necessary.