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Proposed SHU dorm would mean big parking loss on campus

Sacred Heart University is willing to lose some on-campus parking in order to build a new, three-story dormitory.

The university presented its application to the Town Plan and Zoning Commission at a recent public hearing that drew little attention from neighbors. No decision has been made on the application.

The new, 216-bed residence hall would be situated in the northeast corner of the campus, an area that is now a parking lot, at the corner of Park Avenue and Jefferson Street.

The U-shaped structure will house common areas, like a lobby, lounge and fitness room along with student bedrooms on the first floor, while the second and third floors will mostly bedrooms.

According to the statement of use submitted with the application, the corner of Jefferson and Park will be renovated and existing plantings and signs removed to provide a "more open, welcoming vista." The dormitory building itself would be constructed of brick and copper veneer and copper gutters, with a standing seam roofing.

James Wendt, assistant planning director for the town, said construction of the proposed dormitory would eliminate 300 parking spaces, but the university has signed agreements with four nearby properties to make up for the parking loss: the Jewish Home for the Elderly, Notre Dame High School, Westfield Trumbull mall and Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. The off-site parking would be used by staff.

Wendt said one neighbor did raise concerns at the hearing about possible traffic issues posed by construction of the dormitory.

"The intent of the university is to construct a flagship building for the main campus located at an important area of the main campus, designed to complement the School of Business and Communication under construction to the north," the application states.

Genevieve Reilly

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