Dear Friends,

I wanted to take a moment to share the following web site and video about Salve Regina’s proposed residence hall with you. As you know, Salve is appealing the Historic District Commission’s decision against construction of the student residences to the Zoning Board. Briefs from legal teams will be filed on Monday, January 27, and the board will hear oral arguments focused on Residence Hall A (Watts site) on Monday, February 24. A vote on this appeal is also expected to take place at this time.

The website and video found at Salve.edu/residence-hall-project contain important information about how the University’s proposed Residence Hall A (Watts site) fits in with the surrounding neighborhood and benefits the city of Newport. For instance, bringing more of Salve’s student population onto campus is consistent with Newport’s comprehensive plan to free up housing for full-time residents and alleviate pressure on city services, including fire and police.

In addition to the website and video, some important facts about the project include:

  • Residence Hall A adds only 153 new beds and increases the on-campus population by 7 percent (total number of beds in the building will be 214).
  • Only 10 percent of the lot for this residence hall will be covered by buildings when construction is complete. This includes the new residence hall AND the existing William Watts Sherman House combined – leaving 90 percent of the site open.
  • When built, Residence Hall A will create more room for sweeping lawns, vistas and pedestrian corridors than currently exists with the five non-historically significant ranch houses that will be removed along with the non-conforming modern wing of the historic William Watts Sherman House.
  • A massing study analysis of the neighborhood (comparing all buildings in the district by directional elevations together with footprint, lot coverage, height and length) reveals nothing extraordinary, incongruous or inharmonious in the way the new residence hall fits into the neighborhood.
  • The design and plans for the building are endorsed by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission (RIHPHC).
  • Residence Hall A will be set back further from the street (68-70-feet) than the five existing non-significant ranch houses it will replace and is much further back than the 50-feet required by zoning.
  • A grading and drainage plan that utilizes underground storage water quality treatment areas eliminates the need for re-grading and allows for sprawling lawn areas.
  • Site lighting design will be compliant with “dark sky” standards and match what is in the historic area.
  • Only 37 new parking spaces will be added to the Residence Hall A site, which already contains 55 spaces serving student residences contained within the five non-historic ranch houses that will be removed. All on-site parking will be effectively screened.
  • More on-campus housing also means more parking for Newport residents near their homes, and a reduction in traffic to campus from commuting students.
  • In addition to generating 300 new construction jobs, this project would also bolster the University’s $1.2 million annual tax-related payments to the city by approximately $141,000.

I hope all will voice your support of Salve in this vital effort to retain the University’s position in the very competitive higher education market. Please feel free to call me with any questions you may have,

Thank you,
James Farrar
President
(401) 849 5820