Groundbreaking for Lehigh’s SouthSide Commons, a new, five-story student living facility to rise at Brodhead and Packer avenues, is planned for March, a key step forward as Lehigh moves ahead with a plan to significantly expand its undergraduate and graduate student enrollment.
The Bethlehem Planning Commission unanimously approved Lehigh’s plan for the new residential facility in January. The building will provide housing for more than 420 upperclassmen in an apartment-style setting with studios and two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments. The building will include a fitness center, study rooms and an outdoor recreation area. It will also serve as an important new gateway to campus and strengthen ties between the university and South Bethlehem.
Lehigh hopes to formally open the new residential facility for the 2019-2020 academic year.
SouthSide Commons is an important part of Lehigh’s broader plan to expand its academic footprint and strengthen its research activities. Under the “Path to Prominence,” as outlined by President John D. Simon, Lehigh plans to add 1,000 more undergraduates, 500 more graduate students and 100 new faculty. The plan also calls for the creation of a new College of Health and infrastructure investments to support teaching, research and student life.
To facilitate construction of SouthSide Commons, Lehigh will be closing the existing Brodhead parking on Feb. 23. Additionally, nearly 150 members of Lehigh’s professional staff will in the coming weeks move to a new administrative building at Third and New streets in Bethlehem.