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Widener Building New Residence Hall to Address Increased Enrollment and Retention

New residence hall will include food service and classrooms for a living-learning community.

Widener University will break ground this summer on a new 200-bed residence hall at 15th and Potter Streets in Chester to address growing housing needs on campus due to increases in undergraduate enrollment and student retention.

The new residence hall will include food service on the first floor, and classrooms for a living/learning community model. The estimated cost of the new residence hall is $21 million.

Last fall, Widener welcomed 827 freshmen to campus, the university's largest ever incoming class, and had a four percent increase in retention of students from the freshman to sophomore year.

"We have introduced new majors, made a strong commitment to increasing financial aid and invested more than $150 million in infrastructure over the past decade," said Widener President James T. Harris III. "All of these factors, and other initiatives, have led to an increase in undergraduate student enrollment and retention and the demand for more student housing. It's an exciting time to be at Widener."

The residence hall is being designed by Kimmel-Bogrette Architecture + Site of Conshohocken, Pa., and will be built according to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards by IMC Construction of Malvern, Pa.

The new residence hall will be built at the location of the former Immanuel Baptist Church, which was acquired by Widener in 1992 and served as the home of Theatre Widener until the building was demolished in 2013. Following its completion in fall 2015, the university will demolish Widener Courts which were built in 1970 and acquired by Widener in 1977. The two buildings, which currently house about 70 students, are located behind the selected location of the new residence hall at 15th and Walnut Streets.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences and professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, PA, and Wilmington, DE, serve approximately 6,300 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free university. Visit the university's website,, for more information.