NIMBYs will protest against just about anything, huh?!?
Chestnut Hill College to launch $500 million expansion
By Vernon Clark
Inquirer Staff Writer
After a year and a half of negotiations with community organizations, Chestnut Hill College, a small coed institution on the northwest edge of Philadelphia, is set to move ahead with a long-term development plan, despite the lingering concerns of two neighborhood groups.
The college, on rolling hills in the 9600 block of Germantown Avenue, plans to launch a multi-decade $500 million development project that will include nine new buildings on the 32-acre property known as Sugarloaf, adjacent to its 45-acre main campus.
At Bells Mill Road and Germantown Avenue, the Sugarloaf site, which the college bought from the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation in 2006, is key to the expansion, officials said.
The goal of the college, established in 1924 by the Sisters of St. Joseph, is to increase the number of full-time undergraduates from the current 900 to 1,500 over the next few years, said Sister Carol Jean Vare, college president.
The college, with gray stone buildings with terra cotta roofs, also has about 600 evening undergraduate students and about 800 graduate students, she said.
Vare said the expansion plan was "critically important" to the college, which had been a women-only institution until going coed in 2003. Over the last few years, undergraduate enrollment has nearly doubled, Vare said.
"We have taken into account our vision for the future, and we have benchmarked against the schools with which we want to compete," Vare said.
She said the college had examined its plans "from every perspective and point of view and determined that we need to grow to 1,500 full-time undergraduate students."
Some neighbors, who say they may seek legal recourse if the current plan is approved, raised objections over increased auto traffic, environmental issues, and the view from surrounding roads.
The City Planning Commission approved the master plan on April 19.