Delaware City Council has approved the building of new SLUs — also known as “small living units” — at Ohio Wesleyan University.
The SLUs are themed student housing. Current SLUs include the “House of Thought,” the “Modern Foreign Languages House” and the “Peace and Justice House.”
The university plans to build four SLUs on the north side of Rowland Avenue between South Washington Street and South Liberty Street as it gets funding for them.
Thus far, OWU has received funding for one new house, and a home that was formerly used for student housing has been demolished. Ohio Wesleyan officials have said the older homes require too much work to be renovated. Architect Randy Reger said the new homes will be energy efficient and tie the campus together.
A new 24-unit, 6,103 square-foot SLU with 10 double bedrooms and four single bedrooms will be built in place of the razed home. The SLUs “would mimic the existing single family housing stock with a minimum two stories, front porches, gabled pitch roofs,” said the city staff report. Six parking spaces at the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center would be allocated for the SLU.
City planning director Dave Efland said the SLUs were of a high-quality design. Council member Chris Jones said drawings of the SLUs were beautiful and reminded him of similar housing at the University of Dayton.
In phase two of the project, two other homes would be demolished, with a 24-unit SLU built in its place. Another SLU would be built in phases three and four, for a total of 96 units. Another 22 parking spaces at the campus center would be allocated for the SLUs.
The final phase of the project would involve the city abandoning Rowland Avenue to Ohio Wesleyan. The university would convert it into an extension of the university’s on-campus “Jaywalk” for pedestrians. If approved, there would be no vehicular travel on Rowland, and 20 new parking spaces would be constructed in the Bashford lot on Park Avenue. In addition, enhancements to the pedestrian crossing at Liberty Street and Rowland Avenue may be needed.
“The city and university have discussed this possibility in general terms over several years and generally have agreed that it is a potential long-term plan,” the staff report states. “Many more details would need to be worked out.”
Along with procuring funding, the university will need to get final development plan approvals from the City Planning Commission and City Council for the subsequent phases.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.