ON-AIR: Newman Hall looks to expand

By Angelica Duria

It just a pile of bricks and rubble for now, but the torn down site of Newman House on the corner of Fifth and Chalmers streets will actually become a University owned parking lot. Newman Foundation’s Director of Advancement Mark Randall says the University bought the property from them last year with intentions of building a furnished parking garage.

“They have since tabled those plans and to my knowledge, they will be replacing it with a gravel parking lot and decide what they’re going to do with the site permanently. So it’s the University tearing it down not Newman.”

The Newman House was a 30-year-old residential facility for women. However, Newman’s plans now are to renovate and expand its coed dorms by adding a North Wing on sixth and Chalmers streets, replacing the gravel lot that currently stands. Randall says this will increase their bed capacity by double from 300 residents to about 560 after construction.

“We still have about 150 people who are on the waiting list who want to live at Newman Hall, but we don’t have the space. So we definitely have a demand for what we’re trying to do.”

The Newman Foundation is waiting on the approval of construction documents from the Peoria archdiocese any day now, in which construction could start as early as November. The North wing is expected to finish by May of 2008, where they will then close down the old facility for renovation. All of this is in addition to the completed new parking lot and convent. Randall says the project is primarily funded by private donations and conventional lending sources he chooses not to disclose at this time.