How do you use a closed campus? Marelhorst’s answer: Affordable and efficient housing.

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Dive Brief:

  • The former Marylhurst University campus, South Portland, Oregon, is on track to become a 100-apartment affordable apartment as part of a redevelopment plan moving forward four years after the institution closed.
  • The groups involved in the redevelopment, affordable housing developer Mercy Housing Northwest and landlord, Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, A groundbreaking ceremony was held project last week. Many public funders and private financing partners are also involved in the project.
  • Called Marylhurst Commons Affordable Housing, the project aims to be among the most energy efficient housing facilities in the country.

dive insight:

as such Colleges are closed And the Branch branches nearby Across the country in the face of demographic headwinds and shifting population patterns, questions often loom over what to do with the real estate they leave behind.

In some cases, struggling colleges have been placed on needed land, Help them find merger partners. in others, local leaders They tried to reimagine the college campus As locations for workforce development programs or other types of education, from early childhood centers to high schools.

Marelhurst is an example of another option: housing. The redevelopment project comes as Clackamas County, home to the campus, seeks to build at least 1,500 new affordable homes.

Until its closure, Marylhurst was the oldest Catholic university in Oregon. Founded in 1893, it bills itself as the first women’s liberal arts college to be established in the Pacific Northwest. It has become a mixed enterprise in 1974. That same year, it was designated a college for lifelong learning.

College counts 743 students when it closed, roughly split between the undergraduate and graduate levels. Most of the students, 80%, came from within Oregon. Many of them were adults—the average age of undergraduate students was 34, and the average age of graduate students was 38.

The Corporation has taken steps to try to adapt to the changing market. It was an early adopter of online education, starting courses in 1996. When it closed, many of its students were online. About a fifth were entirely online, and about 58% took a combination of hybrid and online courses.

However, Leaders noted declining enrollment And an increasingly difficult financial picture prompted the decision to close – saying they wanted to do so while still having a financial path to closing in an orderly manner. After the Foundation held its final chapters in the summer of 2018, its campus was returned to the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, who started the Foundation more than a century ago.

Then the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary had to decide what to do with them.

“Housing people said, we need housing,” Sister Linda Patrick for Oregon Public Broadcasting. “We need housing for people with less financial means.”

Plans call for the building to have highly efficient mechanical systems and windows. It is expected to use 40% less electricity than the corresponding conventional design. The structure would be U-shaped, standing three stories and four stories high. Most of their units will have two or three bedrooms.

“We value everyone in our communities and are using our resources in innovative ways to make a little bigger impact as we seek real solutions to our state’s lack of affordable housing,” said Andrea Bell, executive director of Oregon’s Department of Housing and Community. Services, in a statement, the department is among several public funders that also include the county housing authority.

The facility is expected to open in 2024.

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