Vincennes University officially broke ground Oct. 23 on the site of the French Quarter property.
The French Quarter is a French-Creole-inspired complex designed to meet the interests and needs of today’s college students. It will offer apartment-style living that pays homage to the French heritage of the area. The complex is designed to appeal to students of all ages and be instrumental in recruiting more students to VU’s bachelor degree programs.
“It will open up opportunities for Vincennes University students,” VU President Chuck Johnson said. “Perhaps older students or bachelor’s students or returning veterans or maybe students who have families and need this type of option for housing. This may give them opportunities to enjoy Vincennes University and take advantage of the great education the University has to offer.”
The groundbreaking was a culmination of immense planning and hard work. The project was spearheaded by longtime Vice President for Financial Services and Government Relations Phil Rath. He led the construction or renovation of nearly every building on VU’s campus over the course of his career before passing away in July.
“It is a project that will have a tremendous impact on the University for many years,” Johnson said. “It is a continuation of a lot of the campus improvements and projects over the last several years. A lot of the credit if not all of the credit goes to Phil Rath, and his dedication and vision in making it happen.”
Apartments will primarily include three-bedroom units, each with a private full bathroom, a shared living space, and a full kitchen.
Phase One of the project is bounded by First and Second streets and from Hart Street to the railroad tracks. It will include 30 apartment units with 92 total bedrooms, and the four buildings will be accented with French Quarter style railings. Property amenities will include bike storage rooms, second-floor balconies, a parking space for each bedroom, a fountain, and open outdoor space. Phase One is slated for completion by Fall 2020.
“This is a different option for our students,” said VU Director of Facilities Andrew Young. “It is independent-style living. It’s one of those things that students demand in this day and age. We still have our traditional dorms, but this is a good option to move our housing options forward.”
When completed, the complex will house nearly 200 students.
The French Quarter also will serve as a vital link to the community. The First and Second street corridor is an important connection between Vincennes University, the Wabash riverfront, and the Main Street areas of Vincennes. The addition of the French Quarter will encourage more pedestrian traffic along this historic avenue – enriching the experience of VU students and those living and working in Vincennes.
“This project brings together what Vincennes University is proud to represent – community revitalization, economic development, and student recruitment,” said Linda Waldroup, VU’s Vice President of Financial Services. “As many have recognized today, Phil Rath certainly was a visionary for this community. We now get to witness his vision come to life. I commend VU’s Architectural Services team for their leadership and countless hours of dedication to moving this project forward for our students and the community.”
The French Quarter was designed by RQAW – Vincennes Office. The contractors are Wolfe Construction Co., Inc. and Kerns Excavating, Inc.
VINCENNES UNIVERSITY – Indiana’s First College
VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper, the Aviation Technology Center and American Sign Language program in Indianapolis, Early College Career and Technical Education Centers, and additional sites such as the Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon, the Logistics Training and Education Center in Plainfield, and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics in Fort Branch. A leader in developing Early Colleges statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.
In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.
VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 36 other states, and 21 other countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.