More Lafayette dorm plans? These are temporary

Lafayette College will seek permission from Easton's planning commission on Wednesday to put in temporary dormitories for 78 students. The request comes as the planning commission is mulling major capital plans by the college to put in new housing just across...

More Lafayette dorm plans? These are temporary

Lafayette College will seek permission from Easton's planning commission on Wednesday to put in temporary dormitories for 78 students.

The request comes as the planning commission is mulling major capital plans by the college to put in new housing just across the traditional campus border for 400 more students.

The modular dorms would go in parking lots at the Watson Court apartments and at March Field, according to documents provided by the city planning commission.

They would take away about 100 combined parking spaces. The college proposal says the dorms would only stay up for one to two years.

One dorm would house 26 students near Watson Court, Lafayette-owned on-campus apartments on McCartney Street near College Avenue. They would take up 47 parking spaces.

The other dorm would house 52 students and take up 51 parking spaces in the parking lot on Sullivan Road designated for March Field.

The plans don't say why Lafayette needs temporary dormitories, although Lafayette Vice President of Enrollment Management Greg MacDonald told The Morning Call of Allentown that they're needed for a spike in freshman enrollment.

MacDonald didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

Lafayette plans to boost its enrollment over the next 10 years from 2,500 to 2,900 students. By doing so, the college can generate more revenue and institute a "need blind" admissions process, ensuring that no academically qualified student is ever turned away because he or she can't afford tuition.

New Lafayette dorm plans, same worries from neighbors

Neighbors came out in numbers at two public meetings to question the location of the proposed permanent dorms, their height, the number of parking spaces needed, their traffic impact and the impact on home values.

The college responded with a compromise plan, but the city planning commission decided earlier this month it needed more time before making a decision.

The college has been working with two neighborhood groups since it unveiled its major plans. The permanent dorms would include a diner, health clinic and bookstore.

The plan for the permanent dorms is slated for a vote in April. The temporary dorm plan will come before the city planning commission next week.

Rudy Miller may be reached at rmiller@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @RudyMillerLV. Find Easton area news on Facebook.

 

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