Southwestern to Build On-Campus Student Housing
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Southwestern has announced plans to construct a new state-of-the-art student housing complex and anticipates breaking ground on the project in late December 2011 or early January 2012. Southwestern is known for its award-winning restoration and adaptive reuse of the renowned art deco Bullocks Wilshire landmark as the hub of its Wilshire Center campus.
The new $20 million facility will comprise 105,000 square feet of built space and will feature 133 dwelling units, a large open-air courtyard and related parking situated on 1.27 acres on the southwest corner of the campus at 7th Street between Westmoreland Avenue and Shatto Place. Over 67,000 square feet of living space will include 60 studio, 53 one-bedroom and 20 two-bedroom fully furnished units that can accommodate 153 students, the equivalent of about 40 percent of the school's typical entering class. The building design, which is expected to achieve a LEED Gold rating, includes four floors of housing above two levels of parking. The units will be available for occupancy in Fall 2013.
"This next very exciting phase of our campus expansion will further transform what is now a model urban law school campus into an even more inviting environment reminiscent of an inspiring, small liberal arts college setting," Dean Bryant G. Garth explained. "The 'living-learning village' created by on-campus housing is a natural extension of the student-centered approach that is the hallmark of Southwestern."
Los Angeles City Councilmember Herb Wesson commented, "Southwestern continues to be an important community partner, anchoring our city center and enhancing our neighborhoods by bringing jobs and new business opportunities. The success of this project stands as an example of what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together."
Experienced Project Team
The project principals include Corsini Stark Architects, Symphony Development and MATT Construction.
Chief Operating Officer Janice Manis, who has managed Southwestern's campus expansion during the past two decades, remarked that the new project team represents "the most talented and experienced educational facilities architects, developers and construction experts in the region."
Anthony Stark of Corsini Stark Architects has worked with Southwestern since 1997 on a variety of major award-winning projects including adaptive reuse or new construction for courtrooms, classrooms, the fitness center, administrative and faculty offices, the central promenade and the main gateway campus entrance. The firm's roster of clients includes numerous residential and commercial entities in addition to academic institutions such as Cal Poly Pomona and UC Riverside. Stark indicated that the level of architectural and interior design featured in Southwestern's new student housing will "reflect the richness of the law school's historic Bullocks Wilshire Building while incorporating state-of-the-art amenities and contemporary finishes, as well as current environmental sustainability practices."
According to Theodore Snyder of Symphony Development, "Extensive case studies of other graduate housing, market studies of surrounding residential areas and roundtable discussions with different law school constituencies, as well as extensive surveys of Southwestern students, provided invaluable input during the planning and construction financing phases." Symphony specializes in student, multi-family and mixed-use housing developments, including recent projects for USC and Marymount College.
Serving as general contractor for the project, MATT Construction brings extensive experience in general contracting services and an impressive roster of clients that includes the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA, Natural History Museum, Museum of Tolerance, Skirball Cultural Center, Hollywood Bowl, Chapman University, Harvey Mudd College, Westmont College and USC, among numerous other academic and cultural institutions. "This is a very exciting project that will further enhance Southwestern's unique campus," said Charlie Mallers, Senior Project Manager for MATT. "As the general contractor, we approach projects as a partner and work to minimize the impact during construction on academic programs, services and operations, as well as the surrounding community."
An Anchor in Wilshire Center
The second oldest law school in Los Angeles, Southwestern is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding this year. Its 12,000+ graduates include numerous trailblazers in the legal profession and public service, including Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley '56 and many leaders in the California judiciary.
Southwestern's campus consisted of a single building just south of Wilshire Boulevard on Westmoreland until 1994 when the law school acquired and began the restoration and adaptation of the neighboring Bullocks Wilshire Building. The addition of housing has been a goal of the free-standing law school since the completion of the Bullocks Wilshire in 2004. The current student population is one of the most diverse in the country and represents more than 200 undergraduate institutions nationally and abroad. However, the majority of the students have direct ties to the Southern California area and the new construction will provide the opportunity to attract a more geographically diverse contingent of new students by providing an on-campus housing option.
Timeline and Project Highlights
The student housing project is being financed by tax-exempt California Municipal Finance Authority Revenue Bonds, Series 2011 issued in October 2011 and private donations raised during the law school's capital campaign.
Construction is slated to begin in late December 2011/early January 2012, with completion scheduled for Summer 2013 to accommodate Southwestern's Fall 2013 entering class. Unit size will average over 425 square feet for studios, 500 square feet for one bedrooms and 800 square feet for two bedrooms. Rent is projected to range from about $1,500 for studios to $2,200 for two-bedroom apartments. The units will be fully furnished with amenities such as "Energy Star" appliances, including in-unit washer/dryers; an on-site business center; private study rooms; a roof-top sun deck; covered parking; large open courtyard and two-story lobby-lounge; a state-of-the-art security system; and wireless internet access, among other features and services.