The ongoing construction happening outside of Faber Hall is part of Fairfield University’s plan to build a new three-floor addition to the sophomore residence hall, which will provide 118 beds for students at the cost of 18 parking spaces, according to Fairfield University’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications Jennifer Anderson. 

The addition to Faber will “provide the University with needed additional student housing consistent with its carefully planned modest growth of undergraduate enrollment,” according to local attorney John Fallon in an application to the Town Planning and Zoning Commission

Faber Hall’s entrance nearest to the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is fenced off as a construction site, limiting current sophomores in the building to a single entrance that is located near the Barlow Road entrance, for the time being. 

Pictured above is a glimpse of the construction site outside of Faber Hall on Fairfield University’s campus. This photo was taken by The Rearview.

The project comes after the recent addition of Bowman Hall on campus, a new sophomore residence housing 165 students. 

As the University’s number of incoming first-year class sizes continue to rise in recent years, so too has the need for on-campus housing, which is guaranteed to full-time matriculated undergraduate students.

Since the fall of 2021, the University has taken several measures to increase housing availability on campus for incoming students, including the establishment of converted triples and quads—and now new buildings altogether. 

Pictured above on the left is the first, second and third floor planning, as well as the site underlay and roof plan for the addition to Faber Hall, by Newman Architects. Pictured on the right is a birds eye view of the addition. These images were taken from an application to the Town of Fairfield’s Plan and Zoning Commission.

Some housing solutions have come at an expense to students’ comfort, however. Several sophomore students have reported disruptive noise from the Faber Hall construction project.

“It’s been a bit hectic. But it’s nice since I have two 8 a.m. classes this semester… I have a natural alarm clock,” says sophomore Celeste Fernandez.  

She acknowledges nonetheless, “it is annoying, especially on the weekends when I want to sleep in.” 

Noise from the construction machinery outside of Faber is audible between around 8:00 a.m. and  2:00 p.m. seven days a week, according to Fernandez.

Parking issues on campus remain a concern for some students as well.

“It’s nice that Fairfield is accepting more students, but parking is becoming increasingly hard to find on campus,” says Carina Kortick ‘24. “It seems that we should be adding more spots rather than taking some away.”

According to the town application, the existing parking area serving Faber Hall has 259 spaces, which will be reduced to 241 spaces following the new addition. Fallon states that the impact will be minimal since the residence hall will be utilized by sophomore students who are prohibited from having cars on campus. 

Anderson further shared that the University conducts “independent parking studies in which we are on-par and out-perform peer institutions.” She further added that when able to, the University looks to add parking spaces to help accommodate students. 

One possible reason for the University’s increased enrollment might be the impending “enrollment cliff” that is expected to challenge higher education institutions beginning in 2025. This concept refers to a sudden decrease in the college-age youth that is a result of declining birth rates during the Great Recession. CT Insider recently published an article that brought up this phenomenon in relation to the University.

“Higher education is facing a number of challenges including a declining demographic challenge of college bound students…,” wrote Fallon in the town application. “The plan for modest growth of undergraduate enrollment will ensure that the University remains uniquely vibrant and successful.” 

Anderson did not directly address the “enrollment cliff” when asked to confirm whether the concern factored into the University’s rising enrollment numbers. Rather, she referenced the University’s shift from a regional master’s comprehensive to a national doctoral professional university, saying “this growth and strength is of vital strategic importance.”

She further added that all construction and planning efforts happening on campus are to “enhance the overall quality of the student experience.”

Although students haven’t been told an exact date by the University for when the construction will finish, Anderson shared that the project’s planned to be completed by the start of the 2024-2025 academic year. 

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