UD has announced plans to close John Dickinson and Caesar Rodney Residence Hall Complexes in May 2015, at the end of spring semester, eliminating the entire West Campus.

West Campus plans

UD to close Rodney, Dickinson residence complexes, eliminating West Campus


9 a.m., Nov. 6, 2014--The University of Delaware today announced plans to close John Dickinson and Caesar Rodney Residence Hall Complexes in May 2015, at the end of spring semester, eliminating the entire West Campus. 

Plans to close Rodney were discussed with the University's Board of Trustees and reported by The Review this past spring, following years of rumors that the buildings would be closing. UD officials then determined that Dickinson would also be shuttered, as both are reaching the end of their useful life as high quality housing.

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“Due to their age, the Rodney and Dickinson Complexes’ infrastructures and systems will continually be susceptible to failure,” said Alan Brangman, vice president for facilities, real estate and auxiliary services at the University. “We will continue our commitment to maintaining the buildings with 100 percent service and attention through the end of May when they will be shuttered.”

Constructed in 1966, each complex houses over 700 students. The residences have historically housed freshmen, at a time in their lives when they establish early and lasting social connections. This factor, combined with the fact that the buildings’ layout make them conducive to socializing, have made them popular residences with Blue Hens.

“For nearly 50 years, Rodney and Dickinson residence halls have served UD students well, providing strong social and academic communities, comfortable housing and positive experiences building lifelong friendships,” said Kathleen Kerr, executive director of residence life and housing at the University. “However, moving students out of Rodney and Dickinson is in the best long-term interests of our students and campus community in terms of sustainable growth and campus engagement. We are strengthening and expanding our ‘first-year neighborhoods’ and ensuring students will be able to more easily connect with others as well as to campus resources and staff.” 

Construction is nearing completion for a new Academy Street Dining and Residence Hall Complex (ASDR) and renovated Harrington Complex, both set to open in fall 2015, providing uninterrupted housing for freshmen. ASDR will feature a large lounge area designed similar to Dickinson’s, plus a 50,000-square-foot dining hall able to seat 1,180 diners, one of the largest dining halls on the East Coast, according to current plans. This dining hall will be available to all students on campus with a meal plan. Harrington will have updated finishes in the residential spaces and a revitalized commons with a fitness area, P.O.D. Market, several lounges, quiet and group study space and air conditioning.

UD remains committed to providing guaranteed housing on campus for students’ four years at the University as long as they meet the guarantee application deadline. 

“Overall, the housing changes we are making next fall, coupled with the addition in 2013 of Louis Redding Hall and Eliphalet Gilbert Hall, are helping to facilitate a more cohesive, integrated campus experience,” said Kerr. 

According to officials, the West Campus buildings will be shuttered but not immediately demolished.

“While we have no immediate plans for the use of West Campus buildings, we are considering potential opportunities,” said Brangman. “We will ensure the buildings’ future fits within the University’s strategic plans and will be sensitive to the needs of our neighbors and the city of Newark.”

Once the buildings are shuttered, UD Police will increase patrols to the West Campus and monitor the site virtually with high-technology camera devices. Additionally, officials will rely on the Newark Police Department to provide oversight support to and awareness of the West Campus area. 

The University will be providing some special opportunities for students and alumni that support the nostalgia and strong ties they have with the West Campus. Details on those plans will be forthcoming. 

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