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New Rochelle Begins Iona College Expansion Talks

New Rochelle and Iona College will work together on plans to expand the school, while meeting both the needs of students and the community.
New Rochelle and Iona College will work together on plans to expand the school, while meeting both the needs of students and the community. Photo Credit: Justin Stock

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Planning how to expand New Rochelle’s Iona College to fit both students' and residents' needs will be one item on the New Rochelle City Council’s agenda when it meets in January.

The council and Iona will design and review plans for a possible seven-story residence and other future campus development.

The city announced the projects at a news conference Wednesday.

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said the project’s Community-College Planning Committee - composed of Iona staff, city officials and residents who have been meeting since last year - had finalized recommendations they felt were best for the project.

"I am deeply grateful for the committee's outstanding service,” said Bramson. ”Working together, they overcame a history of division and disagreement, confronted difficult challenges, and reached consensus on a better way forward."

"Their recommendations will be a strong new foundation for college community relations and will also bolster our efforts to improve the North Avenue corridor," Bramson said.

The city and Iona looked at how to address student housing needs and other important items, while improving the economy and quality of life throughout New Rochelle, the city said.

The committee and city also agreed to extend the college’s student housing occupancy limit for five additional years from its previous agreement for two years; and obtain a special permit to build other campus buildings, including one within height and density requirements in the school’s zoning area along North Avenue.

Both parties will also work toward making rules for future campus development, and promoting positive and productive relationships between Iona and city residents - with community participation in Iona’s college master-planning process.

“Iona commends the successful process and diligence of the committee members who have worked tirelessly toward a positive outcome that benefits both the community and Iona College,” said Iona President Joseph Nyre.

“As one of the largest private-sector employers in New Rochelle, it’s not enough to only support local businesses," Nyre said. "I believe, when practical, Iona should - and consequently will - seek other mutually beneficial ways to support New Rochelle. We look forward to an ever-evolving positive and mutually beneficial relationship.”?

Last November, IIona proposed new housing options on or within .5 miles from school property that meet the needs of its growing residential student population, the city said.

Developers, property owners, and contractors then gave input about options and alternatives for adding 170 to 200 extra beds on campus in March. The committee then reviewed these suggestions.

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