Chestnut Hill College, a picturesque college in the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, recently announced plans to expand its campus from the current 45 acres to a total of 78 acres. It will grow its footprint to include the 32 acre property known as Sugarloaf across Germantown Ave. from the college's current main campus. The expansion project will add 10 new buildings, cost $500 million, and allow the school to expand enrollment from 900 to 1,500 undergraduate students.
While some Chestnut Hill residents are wary of the additional traffic and loss of green space that will accompany the school's expansion I think that overall a growing Chestnut Hill College can only serve to bring more life and vitality to what is already one of Philadelphia's most vibrant neighborhoods. Much like Penn did in the 1990's and Temple is doing now, Chestnut Hill College's growth, if well-managed, can serve as a catalyst for growth and progress in the larger Chestnut Hill community.
It sounds like the college is putting plans in place to deal with residents concerns. The expansion will add between 700 and 950 new parking spaces, more than offsetting the increased number of student vehicles even assuming one car per student. The initial plans also call for a 10 acre buffer of green space around the new campus' edge. Initial plans also call for the construction of four new dormitories which should lessen the new students' impact on the rental market in Chestnut Hill. With so many great examples of town-and-gown cooperation right here in Philadelphia I have every confidence that Chestnut Hill College will be able to use the lessons learned by Penn, Temple, and Drexel to expand its campus while simultaneously having a positive impact on its surrounding community.