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The Cabrini Conundrum: Ideas for New Land Use

Villanova’s recent purchase of Cabrini University’s campus has opened the door for many new opportunities to make additions to the University. 

The progression of Villanova’s “Rooted. Restless.” strategic plan sees the campus both constructing new facilities while also renovating current ones, as seen with the overhaul of St. Rita’s Hall and the massive addition to CEER. 

Despite the potential of this plan, Villanova’s campus still presents issues. However, the recent purchase of Cabrini provides Villanova with an entirely new campus as a blank slate. 

The new campus is 112 acres which would add 50% more land to Villanova, albeit two miles away. So, what should Villanova do with this land?

New Housing: 

To say that Villanova’s housing situation is flawed is an understatement. Countless students are forced off campus to make room for the growing first year classes. 

Sophomores and juniors break off with potential roommates to seize housing on West Campus or in the Commons, resulting in seniors being casted to the wayside scrambling for any housing situation. 

Not to mention, many of the underclassmen dorms on campus look bland, are falling apart or are just straight-up weird. However, since every non-senior at Villanova is guaranteed housing, the school has no time to tear into these dorms and give them the facelift they need. 

Villanova’s campus is also quite compact, making it infeasible to build newer dorms. 

Cabrini’s campus poses an obvious solution. Cabrini’s four dorms house 550 students, which combined with the Commons’ 1,100-plus beds, would allow for nearly the entire current senior class to be housed. 

Villanova not capitalizing on the preexisting dorms would be a crucial mistake, as finding reasonably-priced housing on the Main Line has proven to be a struggle for many Villanovans. The Cabrini Apartment Complex, West Residence Hall and South Residence are all apartments and suites designed for upperclassmen. 

The recently completed South Residence Hall looks especially sleek and a perfect fit for any college student. Providing more housing for students would relieve one of the University’s biggest issues.

Recreational Center: 

Although Villanova’s campus is very scenic, most students here will admit finding things to do can be difficult. 

Villanova does have some recreational elements scattered throughout campus, like the old basketball courts in Alumni and St. Mary’s, but these hardly suffice for the whole student body. 

Even the pool in Jake Nevin, while having reasonable weekend hours, is only open from 7a.m. to 11a.m. during most of the week. 

Having one space with courts, a pool, lounges, game rooms and other activities would help break up the tedium of Villanova’s campus. 

Cabrini, once again, could solve this issue. Cabrini’s Dixon Center is a 100,000 square foot building with all the nuts and bolts of a good recreation center. It currently holds a pool, an indoor court, fitness center, a golf simulator and more. 

Additions like a game room with pool tables and gaming setups or a rock wall would be nice additions to complete a fully functional recreational center. 

Villanova’s campus would have much more entertainment to provide students that are less involved on campus looking for things to do with friends.

New Football Stadium/Sports Complex: 

Despite being down players, Villanova’s football program has looked quite solid within the past few years. This past weekend, it soundly defeated the University of Rhode Island, 35-9, despite miserable weather. 

A new stadium with a larger parking lot could grant the football team more deserved attention while also allowing students to tailgate on campus, bolstering the social scene. 

Weekends at Villanova can be dull, and a livelier football scene could be a crucial factor in giving our campus (albeit not Main Campus) more life. 

Also, other sports that are relegated off campus like baseball and field hockey can have its stadiums relocated to a Villanova campus, allowing more fans to attend their games.

Greek Row:

The infamous “Courts” have long housed most of Villanova’s Greek Life. The apartments are roughly ten minutes away near downtown Bryn Mawr. 

While most of Villanova’s parties occur there, many students will not pay the unnecessary $30 Uber fee on a Thursday night or weekend. 

Building a few fraternity or sorority houses on campus would be another way to liven up the more dead weekends when basketball is not going on, as well as creating a social atmosphere that could be more safe and overseen than at off-campus apartments. Another benefit from the houses being on Cabrini’s campus is that Villanova’s Main Campus would still be relatively quiet, giving students the option to partake in a livelier party culture or remain in their dorms with friends.  

Ultimately, regardless of how Villanova utilizes its newly purchased land, the Cabrini campus provides many new opportunities to improve quality of life on campus.

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