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Building it: CIA set to expand on-campus residential options


In an attempt to provide more on-campus housing to its second-year students, the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) is building a four-story, 203-bed dormitory at 11702 Euclid Avenue to accommodate sophomore students.

“Up until now, we’ve only housed first year students, which means second years had to fine rentals in University Circle, Little Italy or even Cleveland Heights,” explains CIA president and CEO Grafton Nunes. “It’s becoming more and more expensive to do that. We foresaw there was going to be a decrease in affordable housing close to the school and an increase in rent.”
 
While first year students typically live on campus, CIA students in their second, third and fourth years are often required to find their own housing, explains Nunes. “Students in proximate housing don’t need cars, so we don’t need to provide as much parking,” he says.
 
The new dorm will be located adjacent the CIA, on the lot that used to hold the former Cleveland Food Co-Op — just steps away from the classrooms and studios. “It seemed like a win-win situation,” says Nunes, who adds that the second year dorm is also just down the street from the new fist year dorm at Euclid and Ford Avenue.
 
The land is leased from University Circle Inc. (UCI) by developer NewBrook Partners. CIA has the option to buy the building. “University Circle was willing to develop it and we were able to work with them to identify a developer,” explains Nunes. “They are providing the ground lease to NewBrook, and we have the option to purchase the building after six months.”
 
The new building will not house yesteryear's dorms, Nunes promises. The two-, three- and four-bedroom units will feature full kitchens, full bathrooms, dining areas and common areas in each suite. “The days are over where you walk down the hall, pick a stall to shower and see lines of sinks,” says Nunes. “More and more, there’s an expectation from students and parents that they have a nice place to live when they go to college. It’s going to be very, very nice. ”
 
Guy Totino, principal of NewBrook, says the building is going to be spectacular. “It’s a misnomer to call them dorms,” he says, pointing out that there will be hardwood floors throughout and the kitchens will have granite countertops. “They’re really full apartments. I’d call them luxury apartments.”
 
NewBrook, which has a great deal of experience in building university residences, worked with architecture firm Vocon in the design. Marous Brothers is the general contractor.
 
The dorms will have Wi-Fi and cable access. The ground floor of the wood frame, concrete and resinous material building will feature laundry facilities, meeting room and a fitness center, with smaller study rooms on the upper levels. The fitness center and a large function room will face Euclid Avenue with plenty of windows, adding to the activity in Uptown. “We don’t want to turn our back on Euclid Avenue,” says Nunes. “We want to interact with the street and enliven Euclid.”
 
While CIA has traditionally been more of a commuter college, Nunes says, the new dorms provide a more well-rounded college experience. While 40 percent of the students are from outside of Ohio or are international, a good percentage live within 35 miles of the campus. There are 195 students in this year’s entering class, he says, but officials have goals to increase that number to 210.
 
“This gives us the opportunity to be more of a residential college and there are all sorts of pedagogic advantages to us turning into a residential college,” Nunes says. “We want them to concentrate on their studies and not have to live on their own for the first time in their lives — let them do that in their junior year. The school has an obligation to take care of the students and we want to do everything in our power to make sure they succeed.”
 
Groundbreaking is scheduled for July 5, with completion in time for the sophomores to move in by August 2018.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 18 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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