• 73°

Easement For Dorm Approved By Town

FARMVILLE — During a special called meeting Tuesday, town council granted a perpetual site development easement, necessary for new dorm construction, to the Longwood Real Estate Foundation.

The Town of Farmville has a 40-foot alley that dead-ends within the footprint of the new student housing project on campus, off Redford and Race Streets.

“And it’s thrown up a red flag for the bond counsel,” Town Manager Gerald Spates explained prior to the afternoon meeting, “so we need to give them an easement until we can abandon the alley so they can do the construction.”

Explained Spates, “It was just something that was overlooked.”

The real estate foundation was scheduled to close on the deal the following day and Mayor David E. Whitus described the easement as “a feel-good document for the lender.”

The easement was granted so that work can proceed on the project. The university hopes to open the new residence hall space in the fall of 2016.

Town officials expressed chagrin Tuesday that, as a state agency, Longwood won’t have to pay an estimated $35,000 in building permit fees, though the project is expected to bring the Town a similar amount of contractor construction-related BPOL tax revenue next year.

The project is part of Longwood’s “move toward housing all of our first and second-year students on main campus,” real estate foundation executive director Louise Waller told town council last year.

Housing those students on the main campus is important in at least two ways.

Waller told The Herald that the new living space “will help move the institution towards housing first and second year students within the main academic campus in order to increase (student) retention and help students graduate within four years.”

The new residence halls will consist of two four-story residential buildings containing a combined total of approximately 52,000 improved square feet, approximately 220 beds and related kitchen facilities.

The new student housing will be constructed next to the existing ARC residence hall and the Greenwood Library and will reflect the Jeffersonian style of neo-classical architecture that is such a feature of the campus.

Waller said building two dorms, each housing slightly more than 100 students, has a specific purpose.

“The relatively smaller living environment is intended to foster a strong sense of community among the students residing in the buildings,” she told The Herald.

The new housing, designed by Little Diversified and Franck and Lohsen, with construction by WM Jordan, will be the first residence halls built on Longwood’s main campus since 1992.

The Town is expected to abandon the 400-square-foot property at a later date.