Medaille College President Kevin I. Sullivan told 30 neighborhood residents Thursday evening that he would rather build a dormitory on campus than purchase the house at 95 Humboldt Parkway for temporary student housing.
But since he didn't rule out buying the house, the residents asked him to give them representation on a Medaille task force studying dormitory needs at the college, off the Scajaquada Expressway near Main Street.
"I certainly am willing to consider some sort of a structure, or more formal arrangement, in terms of the college and the neighborhood association," Sullivan said. "For the moment, I stay away from (offering membership on) the task force because they will be addressing issues not clearly related to the matter of its location."
Sullivan met with the Burbank-Meadowview-Agassiz Association in the LBJ Apartments after the group declared an impasse with the college and scheduled a news conference to air the issue. Several residents spoke against converting 95 Humboldt into a dormity for six to 10 women students. Michael and Pamela Duggan of 91 Humboldt, who have three children, said they wouldn't welcome students next door to them.
"I don't know how 10 girls could live in that house," Mrs. Duggan said.
"I'm afraid you would rather not have them on campus," Duggan said, addressing Sullivan. Medaille currently has no dormitory.
"Unlike Canisius College, you do have property," Duggan added. "Why don't you use it?"
Sullivan said the property recently became available and the board of trustees is setting up a task force to review this and other housing options. The panel will begin meeting in January.
"I think they will be sensitive to the needs of the neighborhood," he said. "The board has a positive feeling about acquiring the property. But it has not issued a directive for a purchase offer. It's not unusual for a college to own homes nearby. It's quite possible we will be a better neighbor than others who would buy the house."
Delaware Council Member Alfred T. Coppola, who first suggested neighborhood representation on the task force, asked how much land Medaille has. Sullivan said it has 13 acres and may someday build a small dormitory for 30 to 50 students.
Ruth Lampe, a housing specialist with the Parkside Association, said she has seen how destructive students can be. She declined to make an exception for her two sons, who lived in off-campus homes while away at college.
"I wouldn't even want to be their neighbors," she told Sullivan. "If we lose this neighborhood to transients, it will be one more key area in the city that is lost."
The Rev. Charles Perkins, president of the Hamlin Park Taxpayers Association, warned the Humboldt residents that Medaille may follow the pattern of Canisius College, which started expanding in 1962 and now has shown "no consistent concern about their neighbors." He pointed to noisy, rowdy students who block driveways and are rude to older residents.
Coppola said he can't stop Medaille from buying the home but will not support any rezoning if it becomes necessary. Sullivan said the college has not studied possible zoning problems.