Demolition of PDK woods to bring new housing

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Construction has begun on faculty housing in the lot across from the University of Dallas on E. Northgate Drive. Photo by Kathleen Miller

The demolition of the woods and construction of new housing next to Tower Village will undoubtedly change the landscape of the University of Dallas.

Often used by undergraduates to host unofficial parties, the woods are already sorely missed by some students. Yet change is inevitable, and now Crusaders are left wondering how long it will take to finish the project.

According to Patrick Daly, associate vice president for administration at UD, the university sold 20.85 acres of land to Meritage Homes. They will be building 94 single-family homes on the property. These will be available around 2018, should everything move along as planned.

“Right now Meritage is constructing the infrastructure: water and sewer lines, gas lines, electric lines,” Daly said. “Once the buried infrastructure in in place they’ll start constructing the streets.  All that will take through next September or October of 2017.  Once the infrastructure and streets are in place, you’ll start to see the first homes go up.  The model home should be completed in early 2018 and other homes will quickly follow.”

The homes would be in a perfect location for faculty, should they want to live close to work. This is primarily how the university intends the housing to be used.

The housing will not be a good location for students to move into, as it is designed for a single household. These properties will not be another “Old Mill”; they will be more upscale in a gated community with a homeowners owners association.

The question remains, however: Will professors be willing to move into these homes? Without any price estimate so far, professors can only answer tentatively.

Associate philosophy professor Dr. Catherine Nolan and her family lives in the University Place condominiums across E. Northgate Drive.

This location is good for her, Nolan says, because it allows her to walk to campus, and the Nolans can be a one-car family. Presumably, the new housing would allow professors and other faculty members to do the same thing, albeit in more permanent housing.

“I think [I would live in the new housing project],” Nolan said. “[But] I don’t know if a young professor would have the financial ability.”

For Nolan, who has a young child, it is also important that her daughter be brought up on a campus like UD.

“If she has to grow up on a university campus, this is the campus,” Nolan said, pointing to the strong family values of the students and faculty.

Being close to campus also allows her to be close to colloquiums and other events held on campus that would be difficult to attend if she lived farther away.

This could be something to take into account for other professors who may be looking into the new housing project as an option for themselves.

Without a set pricing, any ideas faculty have at this point are completely theoretical. However, with many potentially benefitting from the new housing, students will have to sacrifice their party grounds for a better cause.

Dr. Carla Pezzia of the Human Sciences department also has a young child, but does not want to move at this point in her career.

“I could see how if I was newly hired and moving to Dallas for the first time I might want to be that close to campus while I learned the area and had a chance to evaluate neighborhoods of where I might want to live long-term,” Pezzia said. “I would see it as transitional housing, which could be anywhere from a month to a year or so, while I got myself situated. As someone who has lived all throughout the Metroplex over the course of the last 20 years, I love where I live and do not feel the need to be any closer, and that’s with a 30-45 minute drive when using the Texpress lanes.”

With regard to her son, Pezzia has a different viewpoint than Nolan:

“As a professor with a child, it is important to me I model for my child having a full and enriching life that extends beyond your work and having some physical distance gives me more space to do that …  The schools I am leaning toward my son attending down the line happen to be closer to where I currently live, and being closer to his school is more important to me and his father than either one of us being closer to our work.”

Being close to campus also allows professors to be close to colloquiums and other events held on campus. Nolan noted that she would be unable to attend these events if she lived farther away.

This could be something to take into account for other professors who may be looking into the new housing project as an option for themselves.
Without a set pricing, any idea faculty has at this point is completely theoretical. However, with many potentially benefitting from the new housing, students will have to find another area to host parties.

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