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 in the neighborhood. 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 first phase of the West End neighborhood efforts, which includes setting up infrastructure for the new College Halls and burying overhead utilities, began mid-December and will continue through the spring 2018 semester. Milestones are subject to change and will be updated monthly.
- December 18: Parking lots close (lots 69, 69A, 70) and alley closes between 25th Avenue and Carmichael Towers 3 and 4. Site fencing is set (see fence image below).
- December: Digging for ductbank that will house underground utilities begins in backyards of ATO, KKG, SN and PBP. Houses were informed prior and will be updated as work progresses.
- January 8: First day of spring semester classes.
- January: Begin process to meet with student groups (NPHC, MPS, ZTA, LCA, DKE, KS) regarding future house construction.
- February 28: Complete installation of ductbank, which will house underground utilities.
- March 3-11: Spring break holiday for students.
- Early March: Blasting commences. Blasting schedule will be prepared and community will be informed how blasting will progress prior to this date, similar to E. Bronson Ingram project. Begin moving fiber and electric into ductbank.
- End of March: Complete move of fiber and power underground.
- April 1: Complete temporary backyard work at houses (ATO, KKG, SN, PBP). Yard work may end prior to this date and houses will be updated as work progresses.
- April 23: Undergraduate classes end for students.
- April 24-May 1: Undergraduate final exams. Blasting schedule to be adjusted for final exam period.
CONSTRUCTION SITE / SITE FENCING DIAGRAM
As part of the efforts to beautify, enhance and make more inclusive and accessible the West End neighborhood, Vanderbilt is considering the following ideas or precedents:
- Trees lining pathways and streets to separate pedestrians and cars;
- Electrical lines not visible (underground);
- Conversion of roads, where possible, to limited access for emergency purposes, and pedestrian and biking friendly zones;
- Creation of more open spaces for community activities and events;
- Building community and embracing diversity and inclusion through space.
Spring 2017 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.
Potential Feature Options
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 College Halls model is an important pillar of the university’s Academic Strategic Plan. When complete, the design for the West End neighborhood includes College Halls, a beautification project to give the area a park like feel and a significant transformation of Greek Row within its existing footprint.
The newest College Halls 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. This includes Kappa Sigma, Lambda Chi Alpha and the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Design planning would also include the university building a new multipurpose space in the area that can be used by Multicultural Leadership Council groups and other student organizations. The multipurpose space is intended to make the neighborhood more inclusive as it provides the opportunity for a variety of student organizations without exclusive-use spaces, including Greek organizations, to have a place to host events in the neighborhood.
The image bellows reflects a potential campus view aiming for completion in 2023.
Potential Campus View
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; pedestrian and biking friendly zones; 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.
The images below reflect potential before and after views of campus.
Before and After - 24th Avenue
Before and After - Kensington Avenue
Before and After - Alley / Green
Before and After - West Side Row