For Immediate Release: February 26, 2016
PC Purchased This Stretch of Huxley Ave. from City in 2012; Closure is Part of College’s “Campus Transformation” Plan
Huxley Transformation from SLAM Site on Vimeo.
Providence, R.I. – Providence College (PC) announced today its intention to close the College-owned portion of Huxley Ave. (Eaton St. to Ventura St.) to all vehicular traffic later this year. The actual closure date will be somewhere between May 16th and June 1st. From that point forward, all entry to the College at that end of campus will take place via Admiral St. or from the existing entry gate on lower Eaton St.
The College purchased its section of Huxley Ave. from the city of Providence in December 2012 with an eye toward unifying the PC campus. For years, Huxley Ave. has divided the College with the main portion of the campus to its west and the portion of campus which lies on the former Chapin Hospital property (purchased by the College in the early 1970s) to the east. The purchase of Huxley Ave. allowed the College to undertake an extensive planning process called “Campus Transformation.” That process also took into account a variety of other relevant and complementary projects in the Huxley Ave. area, such as the construction of the Arthur and Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies, the construction of Chapey Field at Anderson Stadium, a new softball field, the new parking garage and tennis courts, and the prospect of redefining the entrance to the College at that edge of campus.
With the purchase, the College also sought to address significant concerns about the safety of students, faculty, and staff. Several members of the College community have been struck by vehicles while crossing Huxley Ave. in recent years, and the College’s desire is to any eliminate any further incidents.
(Also included in the 2012 purchase were portions of Wardlaw Ave. and Cumberland St., which are located at the northwest edge of the College’s campus. The purchase price for the sections of all three streets was $3.84 million.)
“At the time of the purchase in 2012, I said that the safety and security of our students, faculty, and staff were of the utmost importance to the College. That remains the case today,” said Providence College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. “In the forty-plus years since the College first acquired the Chapin property, we have constructed a number of residence halls, classroom buildings, and facilities that house performing and visual art space on that end of campus.
“In doing so, we have seen a predictable and consistent increase in both vehicular and pedestrian traffic to and from that end of campus on a daily basis. We promised the City and the local community in 2012 that we would not make any significant changes to Huxley Ave. right away, but would wait, instead, until we had developed a more comprehensive plan. With the “Campus Transformation” planning process now complete, we are ready to take this step,” Fr. Shanley said.
The College hired S/L/A/M Collaborative, a Connecticut-based architecture firm that offers architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, planning, structural engineering, and construction services to direct the planning process. In arriving at a final “Campus Transformation” plan, the College, working with S/L/A/M, decided that closing the College-owned portion of Huxley Ave. to vehicular traffic and turning it into a pedestrian walkway would best achieve the PC’s goal of unifying our campus, while providing the highest level of safety and security for members of the College community.
The College is planning to hold a neighborhood meeting on Thursday, March 3rd, to discuss the “Campus Transformation” plan and the closure of the College section of Huxley Ave. PC also plans to erect signage on Huxley Ave. announcing the definitive date of the closing several weeks in advance of that date.
It is likely that the College also will need to close its portion of Huxley Ave. for one or more days at a time prior to the permanent closure date to allow for construction and utility work on that end of campus.