New dorms rising in Little Italy

Nighttime view of new multi-purpose room.

New dorms rising in Little Italy

With enrollment increasing, the university embarks upon a dorm project on South Campus.

To accommodate growing enrollment and housing demand, the university is building two new dormitories in Little Italy that promise to bring new energy to South Residential Village.

Workers started in July clearing trees and asphalt from a parking lot on Murray Hill Road. Foundation work should be underway by Homecoming in October, and plans call for the new dorms with a combined 600 beds to be finished in the summer of 2024.

“I really think it’s going to change the perception of the south village,” said Chris Panichi, CWRU’s director of planning, design and construction. “When this is done, the students are going to want to get into this one.”

The new dorms, nicknamed Murray and Hill, will rise adjacent to the newly renovated Fribley Commons, whose large windows look out on Adelbert Road. Red brick facades and front porches are meant to reflect the ambience of Little Italy. Green space and amenities are expected to make them popular places to live.

Plans call for a “play lawn,” a “gathering grove” with hammocks and grills, a reading and wellness garden, an event patio, and a large multipurpose room where clubs and student groups can meet.

The new dorms will push dormitory capacity at CWRU to 1,400 beds on the south side.

Although plans for the dorms predate the pandemic, enrollment trends added urgency to the project, estimated to cost $110 million.

With applications growing, President Eric Kaler has said he thinks the university can grow modestly with no diminishment in the quality of students. He envisions growing undergraduate enrollment by about 500 students, or by 9 percent, over the next four years.


“The reasons to grow a little bit are, one, is that by and large, we do have the capacity,” he told the student newspaper, The Observer. “It also enables us to offer a larger number of classes and a broader array of classes, because we have students who will take them. So that creates a more vibrant, intellectually diverse and active campus,” Kaler added.


The new dorms, designed to house second-year students in mostly double rooms, will offer engineering and science students a short walk to Case Quad. The last dorm built by CWRU was the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Residence Hall, which opened in 2015 on the far north side of campus.

The Murray building will rise five-stories on Murray Hill Road near Adelbert Road, encompassing 56,900-square-feet. The larger Hill building will rise on the hillside, at six-stories and 139,000-square-feet. Most of construction is taking place on what is now a parking lot between Fribley Commons and Greek row.

The university hopes the Little Italy dorms are ready for students in the fall semester of 2024.

This rendering shows how the new dorms will fit in with the new Fribley Commons, lower right.

The new dorms are meant to reflect some of the ambience of Little Italy.

“When this is done, the students are going to want to get into this one.”

— Chris Panichi