$600 million residential college project to be completed by 2023


Sam Zern, Editor in Chief

By Vanderbilt’s 150th anniversary in 2023, four new residential options will be built on West End Avenue, where the Carmichael Towers currently stand. At $600 million, the project will be the most expensive capital project the university has ever undertaken. The project is part of the school’s ongoing FutureVU land use planning initiative, and will be completed in tandem with a number of other beautification efforts in the West End neighborhood.

The first of the four new halls, E. Bronson Ingram, will open in the fall. Construction on the second of the four began in December, when crews broke ground at the site of the old Tarpley building, on the corner of 25th Ave. and West End Ave. The hall will feature a 20-story gothic style tower. That hall and tower will be completed by 2020, followed by two more in 2022 and 2023.

The halls and tower will include interior courtyards, dance practice rooms, an art gallery, a library, great rooms and dining facilities. Additionally, the university plans to reserve space in the yet unnamed tower for apartments for visiting distinguished scholars and other university guests.

Students will have the opportunity to live in residential colleges from their sophomore year on. Currently, Warren and Moore colleges are the only active residential college systems. Residential colleges build on the freshman year Commons experience in their mission to build diverse communities within the living spaces.

“In a time when long-distance learning and online courses make getting a degree quicker and easier, Vanderbilt is choosing to invest deeply and broadly in an intensive, in-person experience,” Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos said in a press release. “Residential colleges are places of friendship, places of community, places of discovery, places of learning and places of human transformation.”

Residential college systems are less popular in the United States, with only a few universities like Harvard and Yale providing four year residential college options. Vanderbilt is, at the moment, the only American university undertaking a residential college hall project of this scale and scope.