Ohio University Dorm Project Raises Questions

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You may have seen and heard the construction around Ohio University's campus recently.

It's all part of a more than $363 million program aimed to make on-campus living better.

Once the renovations and construction are complete, the new dorms are expected to last for the next 50 years.

"When we do this complete renovation, it re-sets the time table for that particular residence hall, so that means it starts out fresh like a new facility," says Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Christine Sheets.

Construction zones will soon be taken place by the new dorms but many are questioning if the dorms will be useful years from now.

Ohio University Economics Professor, Richard Vedder, is concerned about the dorm project, "there is an extremely high level of risk associated with borrowing that much. The residential college experience in America is subject to change as it becomes more and more expensive. Online and other alternatives become an option," says Vedder.

Online learning is on the rise and technology continues to improve.

So, why invest this much money in new dorms if they might not be needed years from now?

"Online classes will be a very big part of our future in education but in my opinion, it won't completely replace the need for residential living on campus. Also, keep in mind a great deal of learning has been proven to happen outside of the classroom and that students also need on-hand interaction," says Sheets.

University officials say that the construction will be completed over an extended period of time.

This will allow them to make changes to the plan just in case enrollment numbers happen to drop.

The University is working on phase one of the construction plan.

When completed the plan will create 900 beds, four residence halls with learning commons and central offices.

That phase is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2015.