University of St. Thomas to build 2 new dorms, require 2 years of on-campus living

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The University of St. Thomas

Plans are underway to build two new residence halls at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The university hopes to replace two buildings in an effort to both expand options for students and bring relief to its neighbors.

In the Merriam Park neighborhood, Josh Capistrant and his family are surrounded by college students.

“I never know who my neighbors are. It’s very rare that I get phone numbers for who to call as a party is going on,” said Capistrant.

While he normally wouldn’t mind all the young people, it’s the constant rotation of tenants and their partying antics that get old really fast.

“My kids come to me all the time and say, ‘I see this out in the backyard or I hear loud swearing,’” he said. “If that’s happening once a month for a house, that I feel is reasonable. It’s once a weekend and sometimes twice a weekend.”

Finally, after years of complaining to the administration, he and other homeowners in his neighborhood are getting a solution that may help: new dorms and added parking garages.

“We’re going to have a lot of construction projects on campus starting next summer,” said Mark Vansgard, CFO for the university.

The plan is to demolish an existing residence hall and a building for faculty housing that isn’t needed anymore. Then, they’ll build newer, bigger dormitories.

With room for 680 students and underground parking for more than 200 cars, the plan will relieve the neighborhoods surrounding the university. It will also help the university implement a new requirement that freshmen and sophomores live on campus.

“While students are here they’re better students. They’re academically successful…and that engagement over their four years leads them to be better alumni,” Vansgard said.