West End Neighborhood
The re-imagination of the West End neighborhood, which currently houses Carmichael Towers, Greek Row and West Side Row, is a component of FutureVU with the goals of enhancing the neighborhood, giving it a more park-like feel, as well as creating a positive community atmosphere. Consistent with the Academic Strategic Plan’s aim to enhance the undergraduate residential experience, three new residential colleges will be constructed along West End Avenue, between 23rd and 25th Avenues. The construction involved with the new residential colleges provides a unique opportunity to consider the West End neighborhood holistically. The university will have the opportunity to consider how a variety of student groups will be engaged within the neighborhood, including IFC, Panhellenic, NPHC, Multicultural Leadership Council, and other student groups. The end goal is to beautify, enhance and make more inclusive and accessible the West End neighborhood.
The university, in coordination with Layton Construction Company, established a live update site for the West End neighborhood efforts. For those interested in viewing the current state of construction, the weekly schedule of construction activity, construction cam and construction progress photographs, please visit the Layton Construction Vanderbilt webpage.
*The first phase of the West End neighborhood efforts, which includes setting up infrastructure for the new residential colleges and burying overhead utilities, began mid-December 2017. Milestones are subject to change and will be updated monthly. Past milestones can be found in previous issues of the West End neighborhood newsletter.
- Construction continued at the RC-A site, as well as house sites 1, 2 and 3. Fences were erected prior to students returning to campus from winter break. Please visit the live update website for visuals of where fences will be located.
- Intersection at 24th Avenue and Vanderbilt Place re-opened mid-February upon completion of utility and infrastructure work in the area.
- Work along West Side Row began.
- Early morning concrete pours continued through March. Noise will be mitigated as much as possible during these times.
- Communications issued regarding expectations for construction and around major events including final exams, move out, Commencement, etc.
- Spring semester classes end on April 22. Examination and reading days begin on April 23.
- Senior Class Day is May 9. Commencement is May 10.
- Preparation for demolition of Towers 3 and 4 to begin after Commencement. Demolition to begin summer of 2019 and continue through fall of 2019. More specifics on how demolition will occur will be added to the website as determined.
- New NPHC and Zeta Tau Alpha houses to be complete.
- Primary utility work through West End neighborhood to be complete.
- Delta Kappa Epsilon house cleared.
- Kensington beautification efforts to be complete in late September.
- New Commons/Lawn beautification efforts to be complete in late October.
- Community event space, Lambda Chi Alpha, Delta Kappa Epsilon and Kappa Sigma houses to be complete late December, and open for students in January.
- Complete Residential College A (RC-A).
- Complete Residential College B (RC-B).
- Complete Residential College C (RC-C).
Draft Plans & Precedents
The West End neighborhood, when fully realized, will be an example of the value Vanderbilt places on extending learning beyond the classroom. The expansion of the residential college model is an important pillar of the university’s Academic Strategic Plan. When complete, the design for the West End neighborhood includes residential colleges, a beautification project to give the area a park like feel and a significant transformation of Greek Row within its existing footprint.
The newest residential colleges would replace Carmichael Towers and, based on the current design plan, will extend into the existing Greek Row neighborhood. The university plans to work with the organizations located in the proposed footprint, Delta Kappa Epsilon and Zeta Tau Alpha, as well as with other organizations in the area wherein the university would utilize sites to build new homes and spaces. A new NPHC house, as well as community event space available for all students, will be highlighted additions to the West End neighborhood, which aligns with the FutureVU mission of creating more inclusive and accessible spaces on campus.
The image below reflects a potential future campus view of the neighborhood.
Potential Campus View – This is a draft, simplified potential view of the neighborhood.
Transformation of the West End neighborhood is intended to be consistent with the ideals of FutureVU. The intent/plan is to beautify the area into a park like setting with tree-lined pathways and streets to separate pedestrians and cars; roads limited, where possible, to access for emergency purposes; electrical lines not visible (underground); pedestrian and biking friendly zones; building community and embracing diversity and inclusion through space; and more open spaces for community activities and events. Long-term parking solutions for the area are being addressed through a process that involves the broader campus community. The university is developing a comprehensive transportation strategy that will address parking needs, look at a variety of enhancements to improve the accessibility of campus, and additional transportation options, such as expanded shuttle service, a transportation hub, improved biking infrastructure and Uber/Lyft drop-off points.
Working closely with the residents and alumni connected to the neighborhood, a timeline for the demolition and construction of new homes in the area, timed with planned beautification, has been developed.
- Construction on the first two houses began August 2018.
- Construction of the next four houses began December 2018.
- NPHC and ZTA new houses will be complete in August 2019. New transit stop along Vanderbilt Place will be complete in August 2019.
- Community event space, LCA, DKE, and KS houses will be complete in December 2019.
- Beautification of the area (outdoor community spaces, etc.) will be complete in May 2020.
- All 3 residential colleges will be complete by May 2023 (completed in 2020, 2022 and 2023 respectively).
To read more about the collaborative work to design new backyards and open spaces in the area, please visit the newsletter page. Past newsletters include additional images and updates.
Before and After – Alley / Promenade
Before and After – Kensington Avenue
Before and After – Alley / Green
Before and After – West Side Row
Before and After – Fly-Through Conceptual Views
Future View of Residential Colleges along West End Avenue
Past Student Feedback
A series of focus groups were held in March and April of 2017 as a starting point to incorporating community thoughts and ideas into the planning efforts. Focus groups discussed the following key questions:
- Picture the ideal neighborhood: What does it look like? How would you describe it?
- What would you change about the current neighborhood?
- How do we enhance and beautify the area?
- In what ways can the West End neighborhood be enhanced to promote inclusivity and become a more welcoming space for the entire VU community?
High-Level Overview of Feedback
- Strong support for the area being more inclusive, with additional houses and/or programming space for NPHC and other student groups. Space should be home to everyone.
- Enthusiastic about creating more green space, taking electrical underground, and improving the aesthetics of the area.
- While the loss of parking is a significant change, understand that the need for cars in the future won’t be as significant.
- Suggested more shuttles and ride shares to help students get around campus and into the community. Need to have options for students with internships, etc.
- Would like support for improving their houses. There is a big discrepancy in how some of the houses look vs. others.