Bellarmine University Housing Expansion
Bellarmine University is on a 144-acre campus on the eastern edge of downtown Louisville, Ky., abutting the densely developed and highly popular Highlands neighborhood. To create additional on-campus residences for students, the university's initiated the Siena Halls project. This expansion comprised four halls with a total of 500 new beds. HDR was contracted to provide civil/site planning and design services for the project.
The planned residence expansion was in a densely vegetated site on campus that abutted residential properties in the surrounding neighborhood. Stakeholders from the neighborhood led a coordinated fight to object to the size, height, location and need for the new housing. Critics were concerned about factors such as loss of tree stock, increased vehicular traffic and lack of adequate parking.
HDR developed the preliminary site plan and managed the process to secure approvals from the area planning commission. We held numerous public meetings and modified site designs to garner public support for the project. The revisions added new tree plantings and perimeter screening to address concerns with the visual changes. New parking lots were developed to address some long-standing issues from the neighborhood about students parking off-campus. The planning commission approved the plans, and all four halls have been constructed.
During development of the Sienna Halls project, the Bellarmine University determined that additional steps were required to address long-term parking needs. Ultimately, the university concluded that a new on-campus parking garage was the best solution to existing and future needs. HDR again managed the approval process through the planning commission, securing approval for a taller building than normally allowed to provide an additional level of parking. While not as contentious as the dormitory hall development, this element also met a level of dissatisfaction from the surrounding community that had to be addressed to achieve project approval.